Institutional Research and Strategic Analytics

September 2020 - When Being A Student Is Not Your Only Job

As educational expenses have rapidly increased across the country, many students increasingly find themselves torn between their responsibilities as a student and their need to financially support themselves and/or their families.

CSU, Chico By the Numbers

Percentage of Freshman With Jobs

According to responses given by Chico State first-time freshmen in the 2019 Before College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE).

Working during school

79% - Student working during school

79% of freshmen expect to be working during school at either on- or off-campus jobs.

More than 10 hrs/week

47% - more than 10 hours per week

47% of freshmen expect to be working more than 10 hours per week.

More than 20 hrs/week

9% - twenty hours per week

9% of freshmen expect to be working more than 20 hours per week.

For further details on this topic, read  Using the BCSSE and NSSE Surveys to Compare Student Expectations and Experiences (PDF), a two-page report from the Office of Institutional Research.

You may also explore historical data from the National Survey of Student Engagement.

How Can We Better Address the Needs of Working Students?

As a campus community, we are limited in how much direct control we can exercise over students’ work responsibilities, especially for off-campus employment. However, it is worth thinking about the ways in which we as a community can better address and accommodate the needs of working students. Here are a few examples:

For instructors

How can we best optimize the use of our student’s time in the classroom? How well do current attendance and other classroom policies account for the needs of working students?

For on-campus employers

How can we better optimize the time-value ratio for students employed in our work spaces? 

For student advisors

How can we better understand how students view their financial and study commitments? For instance, are some students more anxious about the prospect of education-related debt? How can we gently re-frame this kind of view through a commitment to student success?

For administrative staff

How can we become champions for working students through our policies and advocacy? For instance, how could we advocate for an expansion of Pell Grant awards or eligibility, or create grant support for expanded campus employment options?