For some college students, their only worry is what their next assignment is or what they’re going to wear to the next party. For others, tuition, bills and student loans are a harsh reality for them.
Briana is one of those students who constantly has the thoughts of student loans running through her mind on a daily basis, on top of other bills such as car insurance, gas and other necessities. She works two jobs and attends classes at a community college three days a week.
“I had to take on a second job,” Briana said, “I couldn’t afford to pay my bills or save up money without doing so.”
She also made the decision to live at home in order to help save money. Not having to pay for electric, cable, water and other utilities helps her to save as much money as she can.
“I would love to live on my own, I’m jealous if my friends that are able to do so,” Briana said, “but living at home makes it a little easier to save money. I don’t have to pay for a lot of things I’d have to pay for if I lived on my own.”
Briana dreams of being a dental hygienist one day. But with the high cost of dental school, on top of the money she has also borrowed for undergrad, Briana may have to put her plans of going to dental school on hold.
Today, the cost of college is higher than ever. Each year, nearly 20 million Americans attend college and with the high tuition cost, affording school is a struggle for many college students.
Briana is not alone. According to the latest U.S. Census report, 71% of the nation’s 19.7 million college undergrads were working in 2011. Out of that, one in five million undergrads were working at least 35 hours a week year-round. Among students who were not considered full-time workers, more than half of them worked more than 20 hours a week.
The percentage of working undergrads varied throughout the United States. The Northeast and the West had the states with the lowest percentage of full-time college students and the states with the highest percentage of full-time college students were in the Mid-Atlantic, and some in the West.
For students like Briana, working during school is necessary. But, is it necessarily worth it?
“Working so much sometimes takes away from my time to study and get homework done,” Briana said, “Sometimes I’ll have to work late the night before a test and won’t have as much time to study.”