This weekend The New York Times took a look at what it takes to work your way through college these days. With the cost of college exponentially higher than it used to be, it is almost impossible to earn enough in part-time jobs to pay for school and end up debt free.
The article looks mainly at two students’ struggles – one at New York University and one at Appalachian State. I am only allowed to pull a few paragraphs so please click and read the full the story for all the details. The student in New York makes a lot more at his part-time job waiting tables for brunch, but his university is also more expensive.
The New York Times notes that no one organization tracks how many students are trying to work their way through school, but according to the National Center for Education Statistics 17 percent of full-time undergraduates of traditional age worked 20 to 34 hours a week.
Another article from The Journal of Student Financial Aid notes that “Students who work fewer than 30 hours a week (excluding federal work-study jobs) while in college were 1.4 times more likely to graduate within six years than students who spent more than 30 hours a week in a job. “ Their grades are also likely to be better as they have more time to study.
“The two [students] are part of a rare species on college campuses these days, as the nation’s collective student loan balance hits $1 trillion and continues to rise. While many students are trying to defray some of the costs, few can actually work their way through college in a normal amount of time without debt and little or no need-based financial aid unless they have an unusual combination of bravery, luck and discipline. …
“Plenty of influential people assume that teenagers can ask parents for loans if all else fails, as Mitt Romney suggested during the 2012 presidential campaign. Others recall working their way through college themselves, including Representative Virginia Foxx, a Republican from North Carolina who heads a House subcommittee on higher education and work force training. “I spent seven years getting my undergraduate degree and didn’t borrow a dime of money,” she once said at a subcommittee meeting, adding that she was bewildered, given her own experience, by tales of woe she had heard from people with $80,000 in debt.
“But students nowadays who try to work their way through college without parental support or loans face a financial challenge of a different order than the one that Ms. Foxx, 69, confronted as a University of North Carolina undergraduate more than 40 years ago. Today, a bachelor’s degree from Appalachian State, the largest university in her district, can easily cost $80,000 for a state resident, including tuition, room, board and other costs. Back in her day, the total was about $550 a year. Even with inflation, that would translate to just over $4,000 for each year it takes to earn a degree. …”
I definitely have seen that many students in the college classes that I teach often have one or more jobs. I am surprised by how many hours they work, and often their work to pay for college interferes with getting their assignments done. I try to be conscious of their work schedules and try to give them enough time to complete assignments around their work schedules.
Are your young adults working their way through school? What is the amount they have to earn weekly to pay for school? Do they find that working interferes with their studies?