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The costs and benefits of part-time work for ‘young’ undergraduate students at a post-1992 University . Anna Round Research Associate Student Services Centre Northumbria University [email protected] Potential benefits of part-time work. Debt minimisation/avoidance

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the costs and benefits of part time work for young undergraduate students at a post 1992 university

The costs and benefits of part-time work for ‘young’ undergraduate students at a post-1992 University

Anna Round

Research Associate

Student Services Centre

Northumbria University

[email protected]

potential benefits of part time work
Potential benefits of part-time work
  • Debt minimisation/avoidance
  • Reduction in stress due to financial issues
  • Enhanced lifestyle
  • Financial independence from parents
  • Work & employment experience
  • Enhanced skills
potential costs of part time work
Potential costs of part-time work
  • Reduction in time for studies
  • Reduction in time for other activities
  • Conflict with student role
  • Poor working conditions
student employment in the uk
Student employment in the UK

Full-time undergraduate students in employment during term

  • Over 50% in 2003 – 2005

(UUK 2005, Callender & Wilkinson 2003)

  • Just under 50% in 2000 (Metcalf 2003)
  • UNITE/MORI suggest 41% (2005)
  • Mean working week during term rising: several studies suggest that > 15 hpw is the average
  • Higher rate of employment at post-1992 institutions and among students from working-class backgrounds
institutional findings
Institutional findings
  • Rate of student employment has risen:

77.2% of current first years

69.6% of final year students in 06/07

58.1% of final year students in 05/06

  • Mean working week has fallen:

11½ hours per week for current first years

13¾ hours per week for final year students 06/07

15½ hours per week for final year students 05/06

employment trends
Employment trends
  • Rates of pay higher in final year
  • This relates to final year trend towards course-related employment
  • Stronger for students in Health/ Social work disciplines and for male students in other fields
  • Employment & spending patterns indicate three roles for part-time work; debt minimisation, ‘balancing the budget’, and money for fun
student employment attainment
Student employment & attainment

Several possible views:

  • Students in term-time employment have lower attainment because of reduced time/conditions for study
  • Students in term-time employment have lower attainment because of lower commitment to studies/other issues
  • Some students in term-time employment have lower attainment: ‘safe limit’ on working hours
  • No direct relationship between student employment and attainment
impact on studies
Impact on studies?
  • Similar responses for first and final year students
  • More than 80% state that their attendance was ‘never’ affected by their job; under 5% state that their attendance was affected ‘frequently’
  • Around 90% have ‘never’ missed a coursework deadline due to part-time work; under 2% have done so ‘frequently’
  • Around 75% feel that the quality of their work has ‘never’ been reduced because of their job; none feel that the quality of their work has been reduced ‘frequently’
  • Around 75% have ‘never’ felt that they are ‘not really part of’ their course because of their job; around 12% have felt this ‘frequently’ and a similar proportion have felt this ‘occasionally’
patterns of employment impact on studies
Patterns of employment & impact on studies
  • Impact on attendance, quality of assignments and ‘feeling part of’ one’s course is significantly related to length of working week in employment in both first and final year
  • No relationship to mean length of time spent in independent study
  • Students who felt studies were affected ‘frequently’ had a mean working week well in excess of ‘safe’ 15 hour limit
  • Students who felt studies were affected ‘occasionally’ had a mean working week close to ‘safe’ 15 hour limit
  • Students who felt their studies were unaffected had a mean working week of less than 15 hours
impact on course related activities
Impact on course-related activities

Independent study

Around 10% felt the time they spend on independent study was affected ‘a lot’ by their job

Around 60% felt the time they spend on independent study was affected ‘a little’ by their job

Reading

Around 25% felt the time they spend reading was affected ‘a lot’ by their job

Around 50% felt the time they spend reading was affected ‘a little’ by their job

impact on course related activities13
Impact on course-related activities

Assignments and coursework

Around 10% felt the time they spend on assignments & coursework was affected ‘a lot’ by their job

Around 33% felt the time they spend on assignments & coursework was affected ‘a little’ by their job

Using learning resources

Around 10% felt the time they spend using learning resources was affected ‘a lot’ by their job

Around 33% felt the time they spend using learning resources was affected ‘a little’ by their job

patterns of employment impact on activities
Patterns of employment & impact on activities
  • Significant relationship between hours in term-time employment and reported impact on time spent reading, studying, writing assignments, using learning resources, and sleeping
  • NO relationship between hours in independent study and any of these factors
  • NO relationship between hours in term-time employment and time spent in social activities
other reasons for not working
Other reasons for not working
  • Reasons such as alternative resources, family pressure to ‘do well’ in one’s studies and inability to find a [suitable] job were cited by fewer than 50% of students
  • Around 25% stated that they ‘would rather borrow money than work during term’
  • Over 50% feel that ‘juggling’ employment, study and other commitments would be a problem
  • Around 1/3 of first year students and 2/5 of final year students stated that they ‘can rely on savings’
reasons for working
Reasons for working
  • ‘Debt minimisation’ is ‘very important’ for just under 50% and ‘quite important’ for c. 25%
  • Working students in the final year have lower mean debt but use commercial credit products more heavily than non-working students
  • Around 60% of all working students state that they ‘can’t manage on just loans/grants’
  • Around 48% of working first years ‘need the money for basic essentials’ compared to almost 60% of working final year students
work experience
Work experience
  • ‘Work experience’ is a factor for around 40% of students, in particular final year students with a ‘course/field relevant’ job
  • The ‘social experience’ of part-time work is important to over 40% of final year students and over 50% of first year students
overload
‘Overload’?
  • Under 30% of first years complain of ‘overload’
  • Around 50% of final years complain of ‘overload’
  • Experience of ‘overload’ is closely related to mean length of working week in employment and also to independent study
  • Those in course/field relevant jobs are less likely to complain of overload
conclusions
Conclusions
  • Majority of working students feel that their job has had a positive effect on their time at university
  • Mean length of working week in employment is a key factor in experience of part-time work for students
  • Part-time working plays a different role for different student groups, in conjunction with other aspects of financial experience
references references
ReferencesReferences

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Callender, C & Kemp, M (2000). Changing student finances: Income, expenditure and the take-up of student loans among full- and part-time higher education students in 1998/9. London: DfES

Callender, C. & Wilkinson, D. (2003). 2002/03 Student Income and Expenditure Survey: Students\' Income, Expenditure and Debt in 2002/03 and changes since 1998/99. DfES Research Report No. 487. London: DfES

Carney, C., McNeish, S. & McColl, J. (2005). The impact of part-time employment on students’ health and academic performance: A Scottish perspective. Journal of Further and Higher Education 29 (4), 307 – 319

Christie, H., Munro, M. & Rettig, H. (2001). Making ends meet: student incomes and debt. Studies in Higher Education, 26 (3), 363 – 383

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Curtis, S. & Williams, J. (2002). The reluctant workforce: Undergraduates’ part-time employment. Education and Training 44 (1), 5 – 10

Finch, S., Jones, A., Parfrement, J. & Cebulla, A. (2005). Student Income and Expenditure Survey 2004/05. London: Stationery Office

Ford, J., Bosworth, D. & Wilson, R. (1995). Part-time work and full-time education. Studies in Higher Education 20 (2), 187 – 207

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Hodgson, A. & Spours, K. (2000). Earning to learn? Guardian 4 July.

Hunt, A., Lincoln, I. & Walker, A. (2004). Term-time employment and academic attainment: Evidence from a large-scale survey of undergraduates at Northumbria University. Journal of Further and Higher Education 28 (1), 3 - 18

Metcalf, H. (2003). Increasing inequality in higher education: The role of term-time working. Oxford Review of Education29 (3), 315 – 329

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UUK, 2005. Survey of higher education students’ attitudes to debt and term-time working and their impact on attainment. A report to Universities UK and HEFCE by the Centre for Higher Education Research and Information (CHERI) and London South Bank University. London: Universities UK

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