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Study finds working students' grades suffer

By Stephanie Schwartz
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday Apr. 25, 2002

Study says students who work more than 25 hours a week are likely to see grades fall

Nearly half of all full-time students work 25 hours a week or more, and many of them are suffering academically as a result, according to a new national study.

According to the document released by the state Public Interest Research Groups' Higher Education Project, these students are more likely than their peers to see their grades suffer.

The report is based on data collected by the U.S. Education Department's National Center for Education Statistics.

Forty-six percent of full-time students who participated in the study worked 25 hours a week or more.

On average, students who worked that much were almost twice as likely to report a negative impact on their grades than students who worked less.

"I worked 30 hours a week my freshman and sophomore years at the UA," Associated Students of the University of Arizona President Ray Quintero said.

"Working that much detaches you from the university. I didn't have as much time for school in general, and it distracted from my educational experience."

Of the students who worked more than 25 hours a week, 42 percent reported a negative impact on their school work, while 22 percent of students who worked fewer than 25 hours a week reported a similar effect.

The study showed that working 25 hours a week appeared to be the point where students' grades began to suffer.

"My current workload doesn't have a significant effect on my school work," said Laine Williams-Rich, a communication sophomore who works fewer than 20 hours a week as a legal assistant. "If I worked more hours, though, it would definitely have an effect."

Of students who worked 16 to 24 hours a week, 26 percent reported a positive impact on grades and 29 percent reported a negative impact.

Only 23 percent of student who worked 25 to 34 hours a week, however, reported a positive impact on their schoolwork, while 39 percent reported a negative impact.

"Sometime I just don't want to study after work," said biology and communication senior Alex Pascual, who works about 30 hours a week and goes to school full time.

Quintero said the more UA tuition increases, the more hours that many students will have to work to pay for school, because not every student qualifies for financial aid or has parents who pay for their college education.

Other students, however, find that working helps balance the time they spend on schoolwork.

The state Public Interest Research Groups which conducted the study, is an alliance of nonprofit organizations that advocate for the public interest. It works to find threats to public health and fight to end them using the media, investigative research and other tools.


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