The financial, networking and training benefits of working part-time while in college can seem pretty obvious. Students earn cash that can be used to offset loans, pay college costs and fund other expenses. They learn to value money and to budget. They can connect with professionals who may be able to help them locate and succeed in future jobs. They learn how to navigate the workplace, gain skills they can use in their careers and put classroom lessons into practical use.
What may not be so obvious is how working part-time during the academic year can also boost a student's grades. Although a student's first job is performing well in school, working for pay a few hours a week may help the student achieve more academically.
The most recent data available from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) demonstrates that the academic performance of students who work 1–19 hours a week was better than all other students' performance, including those who worked more or less and those who didn't work at all.
According to 2016 NCES data:
- The average GPA for all full-time college students is 2.94.
- Those who did not work earned an average GPA of 2.94.
- Those who worked 1–9 hours per week earned an average GPA of 3.08.
- Those who worked 10–19 hours per week earned an average GPA of 3.02.
- Those who worked 20–29 hours per week earned an average GPA of 2.88.
- Those who worked 30–39 hours per week earned an average GPA of 2.86.
Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, National Postsecondary Student Aid Study: 2016 Undergraduates (NPSAS:UG).