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Summer Jobs: Can They Really Help Pay for College These Days?

August 10, 2015 2 min read

Parents push their kids to get summer jobs for a variety of reasons. They want them to stay out of trouble, know what it's like to work hard, earn their own money, feel good about earning that money, and save it! And as they get older, the reasons shift to a more concrete concern: saving money to attend college. Students come home from their beautiful campuses each summer to work their freedom away in order to foresee a bright future. But how much can a summer income really help pay for education these days? Is all that work really worth it? NRP weighs in on the issue, crunching numbers to prove that a summer job doesn't have the purchasing power as it once did. For a working-class student of a 4-year public university, with no help from their parents, what is the scenario like? Well, way back when , say 1981-82,  the average cost to attend school, including tuition, fees and room and board was $2,870. To pay for that, students could take up a summer job for three months, working 9 hours a day for seven straight days. Minimum wage was $3.35 an hour. [bctt tweet="Summer Jobs: Can They Really Help Pay for College These Days?"] And now? NPR calculated that, "The minimum wage has also gone up more slowly than the cost of college. It's $7.25 an hour. At that rate, a student would have to work 1,771 hours to get by. That's 34 hours a week, every week of the year. To cover today's costs with just a summer job, a student would have to lose a little sleep, working almost 20 hours a day for three straight months. And that would still leave no money for books, travel home, pizza or a trip to the movies." NPR really put things into perspective by concluding that "If you're working that much, you don't need to pay rent because you're hardly sleeping." What are your thoughts on the cost of college these days? Source: NPR  

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