Faces of Dreamers: Rosa Ruvalcaba Serna, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Title: Balancing Work and Learning: Implications for Low-income Students

Date: August 2018

Source: Center on Education and the Workforce, Georgetown University

The Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University recently released a report on how socioeconomic and work status affect students’ academic and career outcomes.

The report found that:

  • Out of a total of 20 million college students, 14 million (70 percent) work regardless of their economic status. Among them, 6 million (around 43 percent) were low-income students. The majority were older (30 to 54 years old), Black or Latino, and women.
  • For many higher-income students, choosing to work part-time (15 to 20 hours per week) had beneficial results, such as improving their work ethic and developing soft skills, including interpersonal and communication skills, in their related fields of study.
  • In contrast, low-income students often work more hours (15 to 30 hours per week) or work full time (more than 35 hours) in non-related fields of study. These work commitments inhibited students’ ability to maintain good grades, increased non-completion and dropout rates, and ultimately prompted students to obtain a job in non-related fields of study.

The report included the following recommendations for policymakers and college administrators: 1) inform students of trade-offs between working and learning during college; 2) build stronger connections between learning and work beginning in K-12; and 3) provide financial education as early as possible.

To read the full report, please click here.

—Haelim Chun

Higher Education Today