The impact of term-time employment on students' academic success
There is growing concern about the detrimental effect of term-time employment on university students’ academic success.
Richardson et al (2013) report on the results from an online survey of 1837 students of the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, whose responses were later matched to their academic records for a semester. They found:
- The majority of employed students reported working out of financial necessity.
- There was no difference in grades between employed and non-employed students, but hours worked had a direct negative linear effect on the grades of employed students.
- Employed students might have had significantly higher grades than the non-employed subsample if they had not worked.
The authors conclude:
Subject to the limitations of the study, our results indicate that students work because they are under considerable financial pressure to do so; this financial pressure arises from a wish to keep debt levels within tolerable limits while continuing to survive, enjoy some sort of social life and pay for a university education. At least within our sample, the average working student seemed to do a reasonable job of managing the conflicting demands of work and study. However, working students do not obtain the grades, and perhaps the education, that they might if they did not have to work.
Richardson, J.J., Kemp, S., Malinen, S., Haultain, S.A. (2013), The academic achievement of students in a New Zealand university: Does it pay to work?, in the Journal of Further and Higher Education , Vol. 37, Iss. 6