Census Study Reveals Employment Trends for Working Students
Most college students do work while attending college.
Students that work their way through college are nothing new. Perhaps a bit surprising is that nearly three-quarters of all college students do work while attending school, a fact that the US Census Bureau has noted in its “School Enrollment and Work Status: 2011” American Community Survey. That information, released late last month, reveals what it takes for today’s students to achieve their educational goals.
The census survey found that as of 2011, 20 percent of college undergraduate students work full-time. These students hold down full-time jobs all year long, not just in the summer.
Graduate students, who often find that they must work if they are to get an advanced degree, also are apt to work full-time. The Census Bureau puts that figure at nearly half of all graduate students. Moreover, 82 percent of grad students worked at least part-time in 2011.
Weeks and Hours
The census study found that of the 19.7 million students aged 16 and over enrolled in undergraduate college, 72 percent held down jobs. Of those that worked part-time most worked at least 26 weeks or half the year, with at least half those students also working at least 20 hours per week.
Working your way through college is more common in some states than others. The census study found in states such as Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska, Colorado, Wyoming and Nevada, more than 25 percent of college undergraduate students work full-time, year round. On the other end of the spectrum, states such as Massachusetts, Vermont and Oregon recorded fewer than 15 percent of college undergraduates working full-time all year long. In the vast majority of states, however, the number of working students is between 15 and 25 percent, with the US rate averaging 19.6 percent.
While the Census data did not give reasons why students work while in college, the answer is an obvious one: affording college. Moreover, those student that do work and avoid borrowing money to fund their education are more likely to finish college debt free or at least they won’t be saddled with debt that will take years, if not decades, to pay back.
Perhaps the most significant takeaway of the census survey is this: millions of students are bent on completing their education and will go to great lengths to obtain a degree even if it means holding down a full-time job. That’s the American way and has been for decades.
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