What Is the Average College Student's Income?

by Leyla Norman; Updated September 26, 2017

Not all college students are 18- to 24-year-olds who are financially supported by their parents. Many of them have part-time or full-time jobs to help them pay the bills. In fact, 45.3 percent of full-time college students were employed in 2008, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics, and 79.4 percent of part-time students were employed. The NCES also estimates that the percentage of undergraduate students who consider themselves mainly employees instead of students is 24 percent.

Experience

Since most college students do not have much in the way of real-world work experience, their salaries will typically reflect it. They may work entry-level jobs or jobs that do not pay much above minimum wage just to get the work experience they need. Internships are another way to get some valuable work experience, but most of them do not offer a salary.

Type of Job

Since students are in college to get the education and experience they need to get a decent job, many of them have to work in jobs that are considered low-skill and that have low wages. Some students may have more experience in a particular field, but because of the time commitment college requires, they cannot work a full-time job in that field with a better salary. A low-skill, low-wage job will typically offer the flexibility in schedule a college student needs.

Hours

College students work an average of 30 hours per week, according to the 2008 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study from the National Center for Educational Statistics. The NCES also reports that the percentage of full-time students who work more than 35 hours per week is 8.7, and that 44.4 percent of part-time student work more than 35 hours each week. Studying and going to class restricts students how much they can work. It also limits the jobs they can get.

Salary

The average income for a college student, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics in the study previously mentioned is $14,400. This is often supplemented by financial aid such as scholarships and loans. Parental financial support can also help students pay their bills.

About the Author

Leyla Norman has been a writer since 2008 and is a certified English as a second language teacher. She also has a master's degree in development studies and a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology.

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