EduShare - Higher Ed Blog & News


What Does $1.5 Trillion Have To Do With Student Employment?


  • $1.73 Trillion in 2021- National student loan debt total
  • 70-80% of full- or part-time students are employed either on- or off-campus.
  • 75% of federal work-study wages are paid by the federal government, while colleges pay 25%.

  • The Office Of Student Affairs was the number #1 employer of work-study positions.  The recreation or fitness center was #2.
  • 82% of all institutions surveyed maintained some sort of centralized job board. 55% directly reached out, either by email or face-to-face, when students matched the characteristics of a job; and about 49% of institutions used new student orientation to showcase their jobs.
  • Undergraduate students who work part-time in college (up to 20 hours per week) have higher GPAs than students who don’t work at all.


The costs of a college education have increased dramatically and many students need additional funds to support their college education.  In fact, the cost of higher education increased by 538% from1985 to 2015, and Student Loan Hero reports 1.5 trillion dollars in national student loan debt.  Student debt can cripple a students ability to save to buy a car or a house, and thus, it is recommended that students only take what they need.  Working while in college can reduce the amount of student loan monies needed, and thus, hopefully, reduce student indebtedness.



The Federal Work-Study Program was established by Congress as part of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 and assists students with the costs of post-secondary education through part-time employment.  

The Federal Work-Study Program provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. Work-Study positions can be on-campus or off-campus and should be related to the student's course of study.

In order to be eligible for federal work-study consideration, potential students must first submit the FAFSA (Free Application For Federal Student Aid) to document need.  The FAFSA will determine if the student meets the eligibility requirements to qualify for the Federal Work-Study Program.

An award of work-study funds does not guarantee a job.  Awardees must find a job to earn the funds.

Many states have state work-study funds available as well to assist with educational expenses.  Students should check with the financial aid department to see if state funds are available.



Have you ever had a work-study student assist you?  What do you see as the benefits of student employment? Does your campus have enough student employment jobs/funding to meet the needs of the students or the needs of the college? 

Let us hear from you!



 [Updated] October 14, 2021

Comments 1
  • Aaron W. Hughey
    Aaron W. Hughey

    I mention some of these statistics in several of my webinars. Colleges and universities have an obligation to do a much better job of helping students find employment after graduation; I believe it should be one of the key metrics by which institutions are ranked. I know the purpose of higher education entails more than “just” preparing students for a job after graduation. Enlightenment is important – but you can be enlightened living under an overpass. Thanks for putting the spotlight on this increasingly relevant issue.

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