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ERIC Number: ED542501
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Nov
Pages: 54
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
The Role of Work and Loans in Paying for an Undergraduate Education: Observations from the 2003-2004 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS)
McMillion, Robin
TG (Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation)
The signing of the Higher Education Act (HEA) in 1965 by President Lyndon Johnson marked the beginning of the federal government's explicit commitment to equalizing college opportunities for needy students. Since then, however, two trends have developed which are running at cross purposes to each other. The first is the emergence, shortly after the signing of the HEA, of the human capital economy, in which human knowledge, skills, and abilities began to surpass physical labor in importance to the prosperity of both the individual and society. The second trend, which began to emerge in the early 1980s, is the decrease in affordability of higher education. As a result of an increase in costs, and a decrease in state and federal commitment to higher education, the cost of college has increasingly shifted from taxpayers to students and their families. Students from high-income families have been less adversely affected by this, but for students from low-income backgrounds, paying for college with family resources is not an option. For the expenses not covered by grants, their only recourse is work, loans, or some combination of the two. In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the signing of the HEA, and in keeping with our vision to be the premier source of information to help students and families realize their educational dreams, TG has studied the role of work and loans in paying for an undergraduate education today. Data from the U.S. Department of Education's 2004 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS) and other sources indicate that 78 percent of undergraduates in the U.S. work while enrolled in school and 34 percent work full-time, with an average of 30 hours worked per week by those who work. Yet working long hours is the least likely method to result in academic success. Compared to students who work fewer than 15 hours per week, students who work full-time are less likely to attend a four-year school (68 percent vs. 34 percent), less likely to attend full-time (63 percent vs. 22 percent), less likely to remain in school at least three years (77 percent vs. 34 percent), and less likely to receive a bachelor's degree in six years (57 percent vs. 8 percent). Loans also play a significant role in paying for college, but cannot be expected to cover the widening gap between costs and grant aid for low-income students without repercussions, especially for students who are unsure if they will succeed and who are therefore reluctant to take on large debts. A bibliography is included. (Contains 12 tables, 22 figures and 85 endnotes.)
TG (Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation). PO Box 83100, Round Rock, TX 78683. Tel: 800-252-9743; Tel: 512-219-5700; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation