Help Us Help Your Student: The Impact of Work

Peregrine Parents newsletter header News from the Nest Volume 2 Issue 1 February 2009. A student Affairs Publication

Help Us Help Your Student…

Pie Chart displaying the breakdown of student employment hours worked in a week. Details are in the text on this page

In 2005-2006, Purdue University Calumet co-sponsored a survey of college students in Northwest Indiana. With Indiana University Northwest and Ivy Tech Community College as partners, Purdue University Calumet staff members crafted a survey focused on students’ work lives, their need to work, the support received from their employers, and the support students needed from their institutions. Approximately 1,000 students in Northwest Indiana told us:

  • Almost 80% worked more than 20 hours a week, with most students logging more than 30 hours a week of work (see chart)

  • Most students were employed off-campus (82%); fewer than ten percent of the employed students worked on-campus

  • Over 80% of the employed students worked at one job, while 16% had two jobs

The Impact of Work — Focus Groups
with Students (2006-07)

Discussions with students in focus groups provided additional information and insight into the needs of working students:

  • Work is not an option for many students. They work to cover school expenses, but also to pay monthly bills.

  • Flexible scheduling of classes is important.

  • Support from academic advising and faculty is critical. Students work hard to balance work and school and need different levels of support to do so.

  • Students would like to see more on-campus employment opportunities.

How Purdue University Calumet is responding
to the needs of working students:
Strategic Plan (2007-2014)

The Strategic Plan is the blueprint for all university activities during the next six years. The Purdue Board of Trustees requires yearly progress reports on the plan, and measures are in place to monitor progress. Through this planning process, the campus designated several goals that would support all students, but working students in particular.

  • Increasing and making (experiential learning) work experiences part of academic programs

  • Increasing the number of on-campus student jobs

  • Supporting and clarifying the role of the academic advisor

  • Focusing on more flexible course scheduling options