More students are apparently working to pay for college. But it isn’t really a very effective way to operate.

According to an article by Amara Phillip in Diverse Issues in Higher Education:

[San Jose State University sociology professor Amy Leisenring’s] study, “Higher Tuition, More Work: and Academic Harm,” surveyed 163 minority students at California State University, asking them to assess how their work habits affect their education. To Leisenring’s surprise, 86 percent of students reported having to work to pay for college, a far greater percentage than previous studies had found.

Tuition hikes coupled with dramatic reductions in financial aid have driven students to work longer hours, often at the expense of their grades, says Leisenring.

There’s nothing new about students working to pay for college. What is new, however, is that students are now working to pay for college itself. Students at Cal State, those researched in this study, have always worked; but they used to work to pay for living expenses, their tuition was very low. Today, however, they’re working to pay tuition. And it’s not working out so well.

While some work is good for students’ grades, because it forces them to set priorities and manage their time, the best work schedules are those in which students work 15 hours a week or less.

Leisenring found that 73 of students in the CSU system worked an average 24 hours a week. Almost a third of those surveyed reported that they may leave college because their grades are dropping or it would take too long to complete college due to work commitments.

Read the study here. [Image via]

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer