Understanding the Working College Student
New Research and Its Implications for Policy and Practice

Edited by Laura W. Perna
Foreword by Glenn DuBois
Paper: 978 1 57922 427 1 / $36.95
Published: March 2010  

Cloth: 978 1 57922 426 4 / $95.00
Published: March 2010  

Lib E-Book: 978 1 57922 553 7 / $95.00  
About Library E-Book

Published: March 2012  

E-Book: 978 1 57922 554 4 / $29.99
Published: March 2012  

Publisher: Stylus Publishing
328 pp., 6" x 9"
How appropriate for today and for the future are the policies and practices of higher education that largely assume a norm of traditional-age students with minimal on-campus, or no, work commitments?

Despite the fact that work is a fundamental part of life for nearly half of all undergraduate students – with a substantial number of “traditional” dependent undergraduates in employment, and working independent undergraduates averaging 34.5 hours per week – little attention has been given to how working influences the integration and engagement experiences of students who work, especially those who work full-time, or how the benefits and costs of working differ between traditional age-students and adult students.

The high, and increasing, prevalence and intensity of working among both dependent and independent students raises a number of important questions for public policymakers, college administrators, faculty, academic advisors, student services and financial aid staff, and institutional and educational researchers, including: Why do so many college students work so many hours? What are the characteristics of undergraduates who work? What are the implications of working for students’ educational experiences and outcomes? And, how can public and institutional policymakers promote the educational success of undergraduate students who work?

This book offers the most complete and comprehensive conceptualization of the “working college student” available. It provides a multi-faceted picture of the characteristics, experiences, and challenges of working college students and a more complete understanding of the heterogeneity underlying the label “undergraduates who work” and the implications of working for undergraduate students’ educational experiences and outcomes.

The volume stresses the importance of recognizing the value and contribution of adult learners to higher education, and takes issue with the appropriateness of the term “non-traditional” itself, both because of the prevalence of this group, and because it allows higher education institutions to avoid considering changes that will meet the needs of this population, including changes in course offerings, course scheduling, financial aid, and pedagogy.

Table of Contents:
Foreword—Glenn DuBois
Introduction—Laura W. Perna
1) Undergraduate Work and the Student Aid System—Sandy Baum
2) Adult Workers as Undergraduate Students: Significant Challenges for Higher Education Policy and Practice—Carol Kasworm
3) Overcoming Adversity: Community College Students and Work—John S. Levin, Virginia Montero Hernandez & Christine Cerven
4) Mobile Working Students: A Delicate Balance of College, Family, and Work—Mary Ziskin, Vasti Torres, Don Hossler, & Jacob P.K. Gross
5) Academic Success for Working Adult Students—Heather T. Rowan-Kenyon, Amy K. Swan, Nancy L. Deutsch, & Bruce Gansneder
6) Using Economics to Illuminate the Dynamic Higher Education Landscape—Doug Lynch, Michael Gottfried, Wendy Green & Chris Allen Thomas

Reviews & Endorsements:
"This book is a crucial text for college administrators, policy makers, and faculty, as the working student population is growing exponentially. Seminaries, divinity schools, as well as publicly and privately funded colleges and universities will need to address the demands of this expanding population."
- Teaching Theology and Religion
"The collective authors of Understanding the Working College Student address the topic by reviewing research and sharing insights that enrich our understanding of the realities of working students - both traditional-age and adult - including why students work and the consequences relative to student identity, learning, student engagement, and educational outcomes. The volume explores the difficulty of funding a college education and the challenges of trying to meet the multiple and sometimes conflicting demands of the roles of student, employee, and family, and the resulting high levels of stress and barriers to degree completion. Higher education scholars, policy makers, and campus administrators and student affairs educators are presented with a comprehensive review of a wealth of research regarding the experiences of students who work. Each chapter offers a sensible balance between solid research findings and implications for practice.... Understanding the Working College Student is a comprehensive resource that should interest a variety of readers across a wide range of institutional contexts and settings. The volume is particularly useful for scholars and practitioners who aim to more fully understand the complexities of the working student experience and carve out future topics for research and create responsive practice."
- Journal of College Student Development