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Indicators

This is a supplemental indicator. Unlike core indicators, which, for the most part, are updated yearly, supplemental indicators may only be updated periodically.

College Student Employment
(Last Updated: May 2017)

The percentage of full-time undergraduate students who were employed was lower in 2015 (43 percent) than in 2005 (50 percent). Similarly, the percentage of part-time undergraduates who were employed in 2015 (78 percent) was lower than in 2005 (86 percent). In 2010 and 2015, the percentages of full- or part-time undergraduates who were employed were not measurably different.

Among undergraduates in 2015, some 43 percent of full-time students and 78 percent of part-time students were employed. Students ages 16 to 64 were classified as employed if they worked during any part of the survey week as paid employees. Those who were employed but not at work during the survey week were also included.


Figure 1. Percentage of undergraduate students who were employed, by attendance status and hours worked per week: 2005, 2010, and 2015

Figure 1. Percentage of undergraduate students who were  employed, by attendance status and hours worked per week: 2005, 2010, and 2015

NOTE: Students were classified as full-time if they were taking at least 12 hours of classes during an average school week and as part-time if they were taking fewer hours. Data are based on sample surveys of the civilian noninstitutionalized population, which excludes persons in the military and persons living in institutions (e.g., prisons or nursing facilities). Detail may not sum to totals because the percentages of hours worked per week exclude those who were employed but not at work during the survey week. Includes students ages 16 through 64. Although rounded numbers are displayed, the figures are based on unrounded estimates.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Current Population Survey (CPS), October, 2005, 2010, and 2015. See Digest of Education Statistics 2016, table 503.40.


The percentage of full-time undergraduate students who were employed was lower in 2015 (43 percent) than in 2005 (50 percent). Similarly, the percentage of part-time undergraduates who were employed in 2015 (78 percent) was lower than in 2005 (86 percent). The percentages of full- or part-time undergraduates who were employed in 2010 and 2015 were not measurably different from one another.

The percentages of full-time undergraduates who were employed 10 to 19 hours per week, 20 to 34 hours per week, and 35 hours or more per week were all lower in 2015 (8, 17, and 10 percent, respectively) than in 2005 (9, 20, and 12 percent, respectively). Also, the percentage of part-time undergraduates who were employed 35 hours or more was lower in 2015 than in 2005 (45 vs. 55 percent). However, there were no measurable differences between 2010 and 2015 in the percentages of full- or part-time undergraduates who were employed less than 10 hours, 10 to 19 hours, 20 to 34 hours, and 35 or more hours.


Figure 2. Percentage of undergraduate students who were employed, by attendance status, sex, and race/ethnicity: 2015

Figure 2. Percentage of undergraduate  students who were employed, by attendance status, sex, and race/ethnicity: 2015

Reporting standards not met. Either there are too few cases for a reliable estimate or the coefficient of variation (CV) is 50 percent or greater.
NOTE: Students were classified as full-time if they were taking at least 12 hours of classes during an average school week and as part-time if they were taking fewer hours. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. Data are based on sample surveys of the civilian noninstitutionalized population, which excludes persons in the military and persons living in institutions (e.g., prisons or nursing facilities). Includes students ages 16 through 64.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Current Population Survey (CPS), October, 2015. See Digest of Education Statistics 2016, table 503.40.


The percentage of full-time female undergraduates who were employed (45 percent) was greater than the percentage of full-time male undergraduates who were employed (41 percent) in 2015. For part-time undergraduates, there was no measurable difference between the percentage of females and males who were employed.

In 2015, a smaller percentage of Asian full-time undergraduates (26 percent) were employed than of their peers who were American Indian/Alaska Native (52 percent), White (46 percent), Black and of Two or more races (both 43 percent), and Hispanic (41 percent). In addition, a greater percentage of White full-time undergraduates were employed than of their Hispanic peers (46 vs. 41 percent). Among part-time students, there were no measurable differences between the employment percentages of the different racial/ethnic groups except that the percentage of White undergraduates who were employed (80 percent) was greater than the percentage of Black undergraduates who were employed (70 percent).


Figure 3. Percentage of undergraduate students who were employed, by attendance status of student and level of institution: 2015

Figure 3. Percentage of undergraduate  students who were employed, by attendance status of student and level of  institution: 2015

NOTE: Students were classified as full-time if they were taking at least 12 hours of classes during an average school week and as part-time if they were taking fewer hours. Data are based on sample surveys of the civilian noninstitutionalized population, which excludes persons in the military and persons living in institutions (e.g., prisons or nursing facilities). Includes students ages 16 through 64.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Current Population Survey (CPS), October, 2015. See Digest of Education Statistics 2016, table 503.40.


The percentage of full-time undergraduates at 2-year institutions who were employed (46 percent) was larger than the percentage of full-time undergraduates at 4-year institutions who were employed (42 percent) in 2015. For part-time undergraduates, there was no measurable difference between the employment percentages at 2- or 4-year institutions.


Figure 4. Percentage of undergraduate students who were employed, by attendance status and age group: 2015

Figure 4. Percentage of undergraduate  students who were employed, by attendance status and age group: 2015

NOTE: Students were classified as full-time if they were taking at least 12 hours of classes during an average school week and as part-time if they were taking fewer hours. Data are based on sample surveys of the civilian noninstitutionalized population, which excludes persons in the military and persons living in institutions (e.g., prisons or nursing facilities). Includes students ages 16 through 64.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Current Population Survey (CPS), October, 2015. See Digest of Education Statistics 2016, table 503.40.


In 2015, a smaller percentage of full-time undergraduates ages 16 to 24 were employed (40 percent) than of full-time undergraduates ages 25 to 29 (59 percent), ages 30 to 39 (60 percent), and ages 40 to 49 (57 percent). In addition, smaller percentages of part-time undergraduates ages 16 to 24 (75 percent) and ages 50 to 64 (71 percent) were employed than of part-time undergraduates ages 30 to 39 (85 percent).


Figure 5. Percentage of undergraduate students who were employed, by attendance status and selected student characteristics: 2015

Figure 5. Percentage of undergraduate students  who were employed, by attendance status and selected student characteristics:  2015

NOTE: Students were classified as full-time if they were taking at least 12 hours of classes during an average school week and as part-time if they were taking fewer hours. Householders are persons in whose name the housing unit is owned or rented. Never-married students living away from home in college dormitories are not considered householders. Children are never-married sons and daughters of the student, including stepchildren and adopted children. Students with no spouse present refers to all students who did not live with a spouse, including students who are single, divorced, separated, or widowed. Data are based on sample surveys of the civilian noninstitutionalized population, which excludes persons in the military and persons living in institutions (e.g., prisons or nursing facilities). Includes students ages 16 through 64.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Current Population Survey (CPS), October, 2015. See Digest of Education Statistics 2016, table 503.40.


In addition, the percentage of undergraduates who were employed varied by their household characteristics. For example, among both full-time and part-time undergraduates in 2015, a greater percentage of householders were employed (55 and 82 percent, respectively) than of non-householders (39 and 74 percent, respectively).1 In addition, a greater percentage of full-time undergraduates who lived with one or more children were employed (55 percent) than of their peers who lived with no children (42 percent). For both full-time and part-time undergraduates, a greater percentage of students who lived with a spouse were employed (59 and 83 percent, respectively) than those who did not live with a spouse (41 and 76 percent, respectively).


1 Householders are persons in whose name the housing unit is owned or rented. Never-married students living away from home in college dormitories are not considered householders.


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