Does working during higher education affect students’ academic progression?

At the moment we have a discussion in my home-region about raising the tuitions for higher education. To people living in the States or the UK it may sound unreal, but it’s a discussion about raising the price from 600 euros to 900 euros. Personally I’m not in favor, as we want our educational system to be as democratic as possible. Studying at the university costs on average still +/- 12000 euros/year so even now we already we have many students working to pay the costs (e.g. of living).

But what is the effect of working during higher education? Well, new research sheds some light, highlights of the study

 

  • The effect of student employment in university on academic progression is examined.
  • Data from a random sample of Italian freshmen are analyzed.
  • There is positive selection into employment.
  • High-intensity work has a strong detrimental effect on credits accumulation.
  • Low-intensity work has a negative effect only when endogeneity is taken into account.

Abstract of the research:

This paper examines the effect of working during higher education on academic progression, in terms of number of credits acquired by first-year university students in Italy. We discuss different contrasting hypotheses on the role of employment during university on academic outcomes: the zero-sum perspective, the reconciliation thesis, the positive and the negative selection to work hypotheses. In the empirical part we analyze data from the Eurostudent survey, which collected data on a representative sample of university students who were enrolled in the academic year 2002/03, after the implementation of the ‘Bologna Process’. We use a negative binomial regression model considering work experience as an endogenous multinomial treatment. Results indicate that, conditional on observed covariates (socio-demographic variables, school-related and university-related variables), there is a positive self-selection into employment, especially for low-intensity work. Traditional multivariate regressions show a penalty in academic progression only for high-intensity workers, but once accounted for unobserved heterogeneity also the low-intensity work experience appears to negatively affect academic progression.

 

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