Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Community college students working too many hours

Community College students could graduate faster and with better grades if they spent less time working at their jobs and more time studying and taking classes, according to a new report from California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) called "Working too Hard to Make the Grade." Community college students recently surveyed by CALPIRG reported working an average of 23 hours per week to cover college costs, leaving them with too little time to focus on academics. Less than one-quarter of students surveyed said they felt that they were able to balance work and study well. Many survey respondents said their work hours made it difficult for them to keep up with their schoolwork, take another class or get involved on campus.

Furthermore, many community college students surveyed misunderstood the basics of financial aid, and the less they understood the less likely they were to have applied for aid. These factors could contribute to low graduation rates. Only 24 percent of community college students who intend to earn an associates degree or transfer to a four-year institution succeed in doing so within six years.

"We need to increase our investment in higher education and fund state financial aid programs adequately, so that students can afford to focus on academics," said Reid Milburn, president of the Student Senate for California Community Colleges, in a statement.

CALPIRG is a statewide, nonprofit public interest organization, with chapters at 11 campuses in California. Visit for more information.