Statistics For Working Students

“The number one reason students give for leaving school is the fact that they had to work and go to school at the same time and, despite their best efforts, the stress of trying to do both eventually took its toll.”

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation published a report dispelling myths and offering the reality behind declining college completion rates. The research was based off of surveys that suggested that dropping out of school was a very prevalent consequence of working while attending college.

The study found that, “Balancing work and school was an even bigger barrier than finding money for tuition. Those who dropped out are almost twice as likely to cite problems juggling work and school as their main problem as they are to blame tuition bills (54 percent to 31 percent).”

Another major factor contributing to the major decline in college completion rates involves the cost of tuition. More students are either paying for their education entirely or are helping with the financial burden of tuition than in previous years.

This rise in student financial responsibility seems problematic as the Bill and Melinda Gate’s Foundation study found that 6 out of 10 students who failed to earn a college degree said that they paid for their education independently and without the help of others, as compared to the 6 out of 10 who did graduate and stated that they had help with the cost of their tuition.

These statistics are troubling at a time when the value of obtaining a college degree may be at its highest point. In CNN’s article, “College degree seen as better investment than ever,” Andreas Schleicher, the education directorate of OECD, stated, “Probably in these times there is no better investment you can make than in your education. Rate of return is in the order of 10 to 15 percent. And then think about what other investments you can make these days where you get a similar rate of return.”

A survey conducted by Arizona State University found that holding a college degree not only impacts average salaries but also influences unemployment rates.

Education Pays Chart 2012

I started this blog to highlight the plight of the working college student, a very real struggle especially for those students who pull more than 20 hours a week at work while attending full time – but these statistics highlight the importance of completing the task at hand.

It is now more important than ever to stay the course and drudge through the sleepless nights and mental breakdowns that school and work can trigger. The struggle is real, but the reward is great. I know that I will personally be proud when I walk at my graduation, and know now that the odds are not in my favor to do so.

These statistics can either cause a sense of hopelessness in student workers, or can instill a sense of inspiration to fight the odds and succeed. I hope that they inspire my fellow working students to fight the odds and win.

It isn’t easy, but there is proof that it is worth the fight.


SB 1062 Protest and Protester Reactions

The cheering crowds and deep sound of drums urged the protestors on. Arizona’s controversial SB 1062 brought out thousands to protest and march at the Capitol on February 24, 2014. Governor Jan Brewer recently vetoed the bill on Wednesday, February 26, 2014.

Protestor holding signs

Photo courtesy of Ismael Lopez

The protest took place around 5:30 p.m. The setting sun provided a beautiful backdrop to marching concerned citizens with passionate and sometimes controversial signs and banners.

A protestor sign that says "I don't always protest but when I do it's because AZ Legislators have lost their minds."

Photo courtesy of Ismael Lopez

Thousands were in attendance to urge the Governor to veto this new legislation. Young and old marched around the Capitol, filmed by many local news stations, only pausing for an inspirational chant before reaching the Capitol building.

The bill, which passed the Senate on February 19, 2014, created a stir around the valley. Numerous businesses emailed Jan Brewer earlier in the week, asking her to veto the bill. Arizona’s Super Bowl 2015 hosting ability was also rumored to be at risk.

Protestors gathered at the Capitol building

This bill would have affected workers, as Arizona would have possibly lost a large amount of revenue in response to the legislation. Ismael Lopez, a protestor and employee of the food and beverage industry, spoke of his fears about the legislation.

“You can’t impose your beliefs on some one else,” Lopez said. He also talked about his fears regarding his job, fearing that the loss of tourism revenue would impact his own economic stability.

A number or churches and religious representatives were also at the protest, showing support for the protestors. I spoke to one local church that supported the vetoing of SB 1062.

A sings for the "First Congregational United Church of Christ."

Leif Oreinergansen of the First Congregational United Church of Christ church felt SB 1062 was “awful,” and “not supporting.” The church, which has a Sunday service at 10:30 a.m., is located at 1407 N. 2nd Street in Phoenix, Ariz.

With the fear of uncertainty now at rest, Arizona’s workers and those in opposition to SB 1062 can now breath a sigh of relief.