Challenges working students face could be beneficial

Working through college could only lighten the debt burden for students. A working student struggles to pay tuition and living expenses.

In a 2013 study by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, 70 – 80 percent of college students are working and enrolled in some form of postsecondary education.

“Today, almost every college student works, but you can’t work your way through college anymore,” said Anthony P. Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, in a statement. “Even if you work, you have to take out loans and take on debt.”

According to College Board, between 2011 and 2017, “published tuition and fee prices rose by 9% in the public four-year sector, by 11 percent at public two-year colleges, and by 13 percent at private nonprofit four-year institutions.”

The average cost for a public two-year institution now is $3,520. For a public instate four-year university, it costs $20,090, and a private nonprofit four-year, the average cost was $45,370 per year. This nine to 11 percent increase from 2011 and tuition continues to increase, according to College Board.

Georgetown researchers found, students are working an average of 30 hours a week and about 25 percent of working student are simultaneously employed and in college full-time.

There are working students on the Cosumnes River College campus that try to prioritize their education over work, but are not all given that option.

27 year-old geography major Laura Herburger, is a part time student that hopes to become a full time student next semester.

“My goal is by next semester is to be able to stop doing one of the jobs and have more time to go back to class,” said Herburger. She struggles with trying to get classes that fit her work schedule, finding the time to do homework and getting enough sleep between school and her two jobs.

A single student working full time at the federal minimum wage would earn on average, $15,871 annually before tax, according to UC Davis Center for Poverty Research. This does not cover the entire cost of living and tuition.

“I am tired on the days I’m working, then I don’t feel like doing homework, half the time,” said biological chemistry major, Verene Yee, 24. “Considering my parents are retired I have to find ways to support myself and my family.”

There could be an advantage of being a working student, even when the job is unrelated to a student’s major. The experience can help develop and enhance cognitive skills.

“Working while one is still in school enhances the ability to meet deadlines, work under pressure and effectively structure time blocks,” said Wendy Patrick, behavioral expert and business ethics lecturer at San Diego State University in an interview with CNBC. “It instills a sense of discipline, responsibility, structure – all elements that contribute to a successful life.”

A specialized staffing firm, Robert Half technology reports that more than 70 percent of chief information officers favor those with skill and experience when hiring.

The firm said that it is best to seek out ways to gain hands-on knowledge while they are pursuing their education.

Georgetown researches state in their study, “ our findings show clearly that students who complete college degrees while working are more likely over time to transition to managerial positions with higher wages than people who go straight into full-time work after college.”

As a resource, CRC has a career center found on the second floor of the library building that offers help to creating resumes and cover letters, all while finding internships and jobs.