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Working while in college might hurt students more than it helps

Anthony P. Carnevale, Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce

Source: CNBC

Back-to-school season is in full swing for students throughout the educational pipeline. On college campuses, many students are starting their journey from youth dependence to adult independence—and making their first and probably one of the largest investments of their lives. For most, that means taking out college loans, assuming student debt, and finding a job to help stay afloat.

It didn’t always use to be this way. Since 1980, tuition and fees at four-year public colleges and universities have risen 19 times faster than average family incomes. Given the costs of college, working while enrolled is the new normal for today’s students; eight out of 10 students work while in college. But the reality is that working while in school doesn’t leave enough to cover living and tuition costs. You just can’t work your way through college anymore.


Just 21 years old, he’s already saved over $100,000

As soon as Nihar Suthar got his first job, as a tutor for his college’s athletics department, he started saving.

“I have been investing since last year, but have been saving money from the time I started college in 2012,” says Suthar, who is now a consultant at the firm Roland Berger in Boston, helping clients figure out ways to cut costs or increase revenue. 

To date, his savings, which he keeps in a brokerage account, have grown to $109,000, thanks to money he earned doing odd jobs at school, stockpiling cash from internships and banking a $15,000 gift from his dad for graduating early from Cornell University. 

On the side, he writes inspirational books, netting him extra funds from royalty checks.