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Balancing Work and Learning: Implications for Low-Income Students

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Balancing Work and Learning: Implications for Low-Income Students finds that while working and studying generally helps students from higher-income families, low-income students face steeper challenges when combining work and college.

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Balancing Work and Learning: Implications for Low-Income Students

  1. 1. Balancing Work and Learning: Implications for Low-Income Students August 28, 2018 By: Anthony P. Carnevale and Nicole Smith
  2. 2. Overview •  Of the 20 million students in college, 14 million work while enrolled. •  6 million of the 14 million working learners are low income. •  While working and attending college is largely beneficial for higher- income students, low-income working learners face steeper challenges. •  Unequal access to support mechanisms and financial safety nets exacerbates these challenges.
  3. 3. 43 percent of working learners are low-income •  Low-income working learners are disproportionately Black (18%) and Latino (25%), women (58%), and first-generation college-goers (47%). •  Higher-income working learners are disproportionately White (73%) and young adults (70%). Source: Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce analysis of data from US Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, 2012; and US Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2012–2015 (pooled data); see Appendix for full list of sources for all figures.  
  4. 4. The number of hours worked affects student outcomes •  The likelihood of good grades and completion decreases as the number of hours worked each week increases. •  Low-income students tend to work longer hours than higher-income students. •  60 percent of low-income working learners who work more than 15 hours per week earn grades of C or lower. •  65 percent of higher-income working learners who work less than 15 hours per week earn grades of B or higher. Source: Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce analysis of data from US Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS), 2012.
  5. 5. •  Higher-income working learners have access to more lucrative jobs related to their fields of study. •  14 percent of higher-income working learners work in professional fields such as STEM, business, or healthcare, compared to only 6 percent of low- income students. •  Low-income working learners are more likely to work in food service, sales, and administrative support jobs. Higher-income working learners are more likely to work in jobs tied to their fields of study
  6. 6. Completion rates are substantially lower among low-income working learners •  Only 22 percent of low-income working learners complete a bachelor’s degree within six years, compared to 37 percent of higher-income working learners. •  57 percent of low-income working learners fail to earn a credential within six years, compared to 46 percent of higher- income working learners. •  Low-income working learners are less likely to earn a credential overall, even if they come from the upper end of the academic performance distribution. Source: Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce analysis of data from US Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study, 2004/2009; see Appendix for full list of sources for all figures.
  7. 7. Enrollment differences exist among working learners •  Higher-income working learners are more likely to enroll in bachelor’s degree programs and to attend selective four-year institutions. •  Low-income working learners are more likely to enroll in certificate programs and attend either two-year public or for- profit colleges. Source: Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce analysis of data from US Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS), 2012; see Appendix for full list of sources for all figures.
  8. 8. Conclusion •  Education leaders should focus on building stronger connections between education and work beginning in K–12. •  Colleges should provide working learners with financial literacy counseling and internships in high-demand fields related to their studies.
  9. 9. For more information: Email Us | cewgeorgetown@georgetown.edu Follow Us on Twitter | @GeorgetownCEW Find Us on Facebook | Facebook.com/GeorgetownCEW Follow Us on LinkedIn | linkedin.com/company/georgetowncew See the full report at: cew.georgetown.edu/LearnAndEarn  

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