Study Shows How Working Community College Students Fared

July 10, 2018

Newly released federal data show that a large portion of students enrolled at public, two-year colleges in 2011-12 worked during their first year at those institutions.

Some 44 percent of students worked “while enrolled in their first year of postsecondary education,” according to a new report by the National Center for Education Statistics,

The report, “Working Before, During, and After Beginning at a Public 2-Year Institution: Labor Market Experiences of Community College Students,” describes the employment of students before they enrolled in college for the first time and during their first year of enrollment. The report also examines how employment is related to these students’ postsecondary experiences and employment outcomes after they left or completed postsecondary education.

Among the key findings of the report:

  • Of the 44 percent of students who worked while enrolled in their first year of postsecondary education, 18 percent worked 35 hours or more per week, 14 percent worked between 21 and 34 hours per week, and 11 percent worked fewer than 21 hours per week.
  • Twenty percent of beginning students who worked 20 hours or fewer while enrolled in 2011-12 had attained an associate degree by 2014, compared with 10 percent of students who did not work while enrolled in their first year and 9 percent of students who worked full-time during their first year.
  • Among students who first began attending college in 2011-12 and were not enrolled three years later, a higher percentage of students (20 percent) who did not work while attending school in 2011-12 were unemployed in 2014 than were students who worked 20 hours or fewer while attending school (4 percent), those who worked 21 to 34 hours while attending school (9.4 percent), and those who worked 35 hours or more while attending school (5.6 percent).

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