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Here's the Scoop on Whether It's Possible to Work Your Way Through College

CCEdit_TorreyCCEdit_Torrey 36 replies353 threads Editor
Find out where you're most and least likely to be able to work your way through school. https://www.collegeconfidential.com/articles/can-you-work-your-way-through-college/
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Replies to: Here's the Scoop on Whether It's Possible to Work Your Way Through College

  • mommdcmommdc 11907 replies31 threads Senior Member
    I know a student who commuted to college almost an hour each way, and worked as an EMT on weekends and summers to pay for tuition/fees at an instate public, books, gas.

    I also know a student who could have attended a school in his hometown for very little money because he would have received merit and Pell and state grant to cover almost all costs.

    Both would not have living expenses, since they were living at home, and both had a car already with money earned during high school.

    But if they would have had rent/food/utilities to pay as well, that would have been very difficult without family help.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30506 replies59 threads Senior Member
    Most students in one area I know well, work their way through college. They live with their parents and commute to college , often part time, often to the local community colleges. Often taking classes that are given close to home, not at the main campus.

    It’s s slow, painstaking process that rarely results in a degree, not even an AA, much less a Bachelor’s.

    A cousin did get his BS a couple of years ago. It involved commuting too far to a 4 year school. He finally was able to devote enough hours to school to get financial aid. It took him 8 years to get his degree. He slept in his car some nights when he had classes two days in a row.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83911 replies744 threads Senior Member
    mommdc wrote:
    Both would not have living expenses, since they were living at home,

    Meaning that their living expenses were subsidized by their parents.

    Yes, such costs are typically much lower than living in the college dorm, but they are not $0, and students who do not have the option of living with their parents (e.g. the parents live in a remote area too far to reasonably commute to college from) or whose parents are unwilling to let them live there will not have such an option (much less in a subsidized form).
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  • cshell2cshell2 1117 replies11 threads Senior Member
    We do have quite a few young folks working here that are going to school at the same time and most are living on their own as well. Our company pays up to 5K/year tuition reimbursement which covers a good chunk at the local state school (I think it's 9K/year tuition/fees for full time). We're manufacturing with shift work and off shifts that work well for students. So if you're making 35K/year and have 5K of tuition on top of that it's not too hard to make enough to cover your living expenses in a LCOL area. Throw in a Pell and a state grant that has much higher income limits and you could end up like I was...getting paid to go to school.

    The drawback is the time commit of working fulltime (often more than 40 hours a week with mandatory OT time). I struggled to schedule with science classes that had labs running into the evening and I wasn't really part of the campus life at all. I just showed up for classes and left. I saved for my kids so they had the option of choosing a different school than our local ones and not having to work so much while going. But, it is certainly still possible to work your way through in our town.
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  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 13628 replies32 threads Senior Member
    Another alternative is working for a university. Many universities have tuition remission/exemption policies for employees. Obviously, if you work full time, it's almost impossible to maintain a full-time course load. You'd probably want to have knocked off 2 years worth of credits elsewhere somehow.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 25006 replies20 threads Senior Member
    There are co-op schools too that allow (require) you to work 6 months between terms at the school. Several majors allow the student to make enough during the internship/co-op to pay for the next term.
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  • buckeyeinbamabuckeyeinbama 120 replies3 threads Junior Member
    @cptofthehouse My older son is working his way through while living at home. A kid has to be dedicated and disciplined to go this route. It's going to take him 6 years and he'll come out debt-free, but you're right, this isn't for the faint of heart.
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  • GregmacdGregmacd 216 replies19 threads Junior Member
    edited June 2019
    I did work co-op jobs while an undergraduate, which provided some financial help. However, I still graduated with significant loans. The people I know who worked a lot during school, studied less, and ended up with a lower GPA.
    * I wonder how much less a person earns after graduating with no debt, because they spent too much time working and not enough studying, which resulted in them having a lower GPA.

    I also went to law school at night while working a full-time job. I'm still not sure if the 4 years that I spent not socializng, not exercising, and being sleep deprived were worth it.
    edited June 2019
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83911 replies744 threads Senior Member
    Gregmacd wrote:
    I wonder how much less a person earns after graduating with no debt, because they spent too much time working and not enough studying, which resulted in them having a lower GPA.

    If the lower GPA is under 3.0, the student may have a harder time getting interviews at employers that do initial screening using a 3.0 cutoff (3.0 is the most common cutoff). But if s/he does get to an interview, work experience is likely to be an advantage.
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