The term “starving student” is prevalent now more than ever as tuition costs are steadily rising and fewer students are awarded financial aid.
With higher tuition rates, students find they need to work in order to pay for college and other expenses, but working their way through school can help to avoid debt. Working also has negative effects on grade point averages and graduation rates.
In order to receive any financial aid at Pierce College and many other community colleges in Washington state, parents can’t make any more than $80,000 per year.
Many students are in a predicament because their parents make more than $80,000 per year but are not helping their children pay their way through school. The way to receive financial aid in this situation is to be 24 years old, married, have a child or be in the military.
“I have to work full time to be able to afford classes, but working full time means that often I’m not able to make it to class,” said Pierce College student Rachel Sherman.
This cycle haunts many students trying to pay their way through school. “There just aren’t enough hours in my day,” Sherman said. In a study by Jonathan M. Orszag, director of the Office of Policy and Strategic Planning at the Department of Commerce, 55 percent of full-time students reported working full time negatively affects their school work. About 40 percent of students have limited schedules as a result of working full time and 32 percent are limited to the number of classes they are able to take.
The average difference in graduation rates between full-time and part-time working students is 10 percent. Many say it’s alarming that the number of working students has risen to such a high percentage since working has such a negative affect on student performance.
“I work at a bank. When it comes to memorizing procedures for work or studying for school I would rather have an income then a degree,” Sherman said.
She said she knows a degree will earn her more money in her lifetime but that doesn’t change the fact she has bills to pay now.
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