Students are working hard, a new study finds, taking on part-time jobs to avoid racking up more debt while in school.
Nearly four out of five U.S. students — including those in high school, community college, online college, or traditional college or university — work while in school, a survey by Citigroup and Seventeen magazine found, with the average working student putting in 19 hours a week during the school year.
“Having come of age during the Great Recession of 2008, many of today’s students have experienced a financial wake-up call,” says Linda Descano, a managing director at Citi. They saw the havoc the recession wreaked on their parents’ lives, adds Ann Shokets, editor-in-chief of Seventeen magazine. “Students are starting blogs and video production companies,” she says. “They want to start their careers before they leave college.”
Another possible explanation: Parents are kicking in less of money for college. Parents still pay for most of the average family’s total college expenses. But their contribution, including from savings, income and loans, averaged 37% in 2011, down from 47% the year before, according to the “How America Pays for College” survey by student-loan company Sallie Mae. “Kids used to rely on the bank of mom and dad,” Descano says. “So many families are trying to work themselves out of the financial impact of the Great Recession.”