College students who have jobs are much less likely to graduate than their privileged peers, shocking study finds


Students who work while enrolled in college are at a disadvantage when it comes to completing their degrees. Our study, which examined 17 years of data from the state of Tennessee, found that students who work more than 15 hours a week are 20% less likely to finish their degree than students who don't work. These students also take an average of 0.6 a semester longer to finish their degree. This is because they take fewer college credits per semester due to a lack of time. 

Interestingly, students who work fewer than 8 hours a week do not face a decrease in graduation rates. They take the same amount of credits as their nonworking classmates and complete their degrees at similar rates. 

The fact that 43% of full-time students and 81% of part-time students work while enrolled in college is concerning. To help these students, colleges and policymakers should take more steps to support them and make sure they have the resources they need to succeed. Additionally, educators should guide students to jobs that might work best for their college success.

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