Students scramble to make college work

Name of Publication: 
The Macon Telegraph
Excerpt of Article: 

— The Kansas City Star

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In its idealized conception, college is an ivory tower where students through quiet contemplation or raucous self-discovery ready themselves for "the real world." ...

"The toll it takes on students is pretty significant," said Josh Gunn, president-elect of the American College Counseling Association and director of counseling and psychological services at Kennesaw State University. "Students are depleted, exhausted, and something has to suffer."

At Kennesaw, Gunn said, "it has been quite evident that more students than ever are carrying a full load of classes and a full-time job at the same time."

When students become too run-down to make it through even one more day of double duty, he said, they usually will choose to go to work over class to pay the bills.


They're working much, much more.

The work breakdown, according to the National Center for Education Statistics: 40 percent of full-time college students hold regular jobs. Among them, three out of five work at least 20 hours per week. Seven percent of full-time students work full time.

Among part-time students, 73 percent hold jobs. Of those, four out of five punch in more than 20 hours per week. Fully a third of part-time students work full time.

This is hardly to say that working during college is new.

National statistics indicate that the peak employment year for college students ages 16 to 24 was 2000, the year before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Percentages have gradually been ticking down ever since.

While 40 percent of full-time students now work regular jobs, 52 percent did so in 2000.

But interpreting the numbers is thorny, said Michelle Asha Cooper, president of the Institute for Higher Education Policy in Washington.

With tuition costs and student loans mounting, the notion that fewer rather than more students would be working seems paradoxical. ...

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