Work, Learn and EARNNovember 2018
Walk onto any college campus in the United States and chances are that nearly every college student is either working or knows someone who is working to help pay their way through school. With the cost of college tuition, books, housing, and other living expenses rising faster than the cost of inflation, working and learning, or attending school and working at the same time, has become increasingly common.
Working and Learning in CollegeSeptember 2018
It is widely known that the majority of college students – almost 60 percent – are working learners. College students work while learning for two primary reasons: supporting their education and living expenses as well as to gain experience in the workforce. The amount of time worked while attending college varies from part-time work for full-time students and full-time work for part-time students.
Characteristics of Experiential Learning Services at U.S. Colleges and UniversitiesSeptember 2018
Enrolled college students seek out work experiences for two primary reasons. For many, the income generated from working while in school is needed to support their education. The money they earn from working can go towards tuition and fees, room and board, travel, books, and other expenses. Such income reduces the financial burden from families and lessens the reliance on student loans to help pay for college. In addition, some working students have families that rely on them for economic support. The other primary reason to work while in college is to gain experience in the workforce. Such experiences help students determine if a particular career path fits their goals and provides opportunities to develop and foster workplace skills and abilities that will be seen as valuable by future employers. Students engaged in simultaneous employment and enrollment in school are referred to as working learners. This can be a full-time student who works part time, a part-time student who works full time, or a full-time student who also works full time.
Equity in Working and LearningAugust 2017
Rapid economic change and innovation have led to a new reality in which education and work are no longer separate and sequential activities; instead, a majority of workers now see gaining new skills as important to their career success and well being. In recent years, ACT Center for Equity in Learning, Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, and others have placed a spotlight on working learners – individuals engaged simultaneously in both education and work – and documented the challenges and opportunities that working learners face in navigating educational pathways and career transitions. Yet, wider dynamics related to equity for working learners in the context of the U.S. workforce remain largely unexplored.
Who Does Work Work For?August 2017
As a college degree remains a necessity for economic competitiveness, ever-widening pools of students pursue bachelor’s degrees at U.S. colleges and universities. These students face rising tuition costs and the need to cultivate demonstrable workplace skills and useful personal networks in order to compete for future career opportunities. From this perspective, working learners – or individuals engaging simultaneously with education and work – may enjoy a range of benefits. Their earnings during college may help to offset expenses for themselves and in some cases, their families. However, working while enrolled also allows students the opportunity to build on classroom learning in applied settings, to gain valuable workplace experiences, and to cultivate beneficial social and career networks.