Rising cost of education causes students to juggle school, work proves tricky for students

Brianne Carlon

Josh Ort, senior pre-med major, slices tomatoes at Coneys located on Main Street on March 8. Ort has been with the hot dog eatery since January.

Credit: Andrew popik

For Rocco Cickelli, being a full time student and not working is not an option — and he finds balancing the two responsibilities difficult.

“It is definitely a necessity. I have to work to pay for my rent, bills, groceries, gas and eventually to pay off my loans for school,” he said.

Cickelli is one of many students who find they have to get a college degree to be hired into a high-paying career field and must work numerous hours at a part-time job to pay for their education.

“Students cannot go to school anymore and not have a job to get the stuff they need or want,” academic program coordinator Lauren Pernetti said.

Cickelli, a senior accounting major, works 15 to 20 hours a week caring for the mentally handicapped.

“I feel stressed out everyday,” he said. “It is hard to fit the stuff I actually enjoy doing, like playing guitar and working out, into my schedule.”

Cickelli said he breaks his days up into three parts to help balance his responsibilities.

“Mornings are for classes and evenings are for work, so I usually spend most afternoons studying at the library,” he said.

Sophomore Kristy Schoeck is double majoring in justice studies and psychology and works about 20 hours a week at Bath and Body Works in Fairlawn.

Schoeck said she usually fits studying in at night after work.

“It doesn’t leave a lot of time to study because you want to go to bed at a decent time, but it is hard since I don’t get home until at least 10 p.m.,” she said.

Motivation — or lack thereof — is also an issue, Schoeck said.

“I spend so much time at work, when I get home the last thing I want to do is work some more,” she said.

Shannon McGarry, sophomore associate radiology technology major at the Salem campus, fits in studying on her work breaks at Buffalo Wild Wings.

“I always have a book with me to read during my breaks,” she said.

McGarry also said she dedicates Sundays as study days to maintain her 3.9 GPA.

Pernetti said, without a doubt, students are scheduling their school schedules around their work schedules.

“There is a very delicate balance when you are too busy and when you are not busy enough,” Pernetti said. “If a student finds that balance, they do really well. If they don’t, they are out of whack and do not do as well as they would like.”

Schoeck said Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays she is finished with class at 10:45 a.m.

“This way, I can get to work by noon and take longer shifts, which make the drive worthwhile,” she said.

There are 4,800 students employed on all the Kent campuses, said Julie Stieber, associate director of Career Services.

Pernetti said the university suggests studying two hours outside of the classroom for every hour spent in the classroom, which means a full-time student should be studying at least 30 hours a week.

According to upromise.com, a Web site dedicated to saving money for college, part-time on-campus work appears to have no negative effects on students’ GPAs. However, full-time, off-campus work does have a negative effect on GPAs. Those students who work 21 to 34 hours a week reported a 46 percent negative effect on grades, and those who work 35 or more hours a week reported a 55 percent negative effect on grades.

However, according to youngmoney.com, an Web site about managing money, the rising cost of college education is forcing students to get jobs rather than spend extra time studying.

Forty-six percent of working students work 25 hours a week or more, and nearly half reported a negative impact on grades, but 63 percent said they could not attend college if they did not work.

Contact student life reporter Brianne Carlon at [email protected].