How Are Students Paying For Tuition?


How are students working their way through college? 

We all know how expensive college tuition is and most students don’t have any other option than work their way through college. While many states have risen their minimum wage to approximately $10.40 per hour it is still not enough for college students.

Many people celebrate that the minimum wage has increased. Some states have a higher minimum wage than other states for example, New York’s minimum wage is now $15 per hour but it still does not debate the fact that students are still not able to pay for their tuition.

The minimum wage has increased just because the cost of living became extremely expensive. Instead of having the extra pay go to students’ tuition it now goes to their daily expenses. We also have to keep in mind that students can’t work more than 35 hours a week if they are full-time students.

So how are they doing it?

Brandon Vega is a senior at Mercy College he is currently working while being a full-time student. He mentioned that he is an Uber Eats driver and he likes his job because of its pay and flexibility. 

Vega said, “Uber Eats is the perfect job for a college student because it’s so flexible. That coupled with me still living at home and not having many bills to pay makes it easy for me to focus on school and only school when I need to.”

“I try to work around 12 hours a week,” he went on to say, “even though it isn’t a lot I work during peak hours where I usually make no less than 20 dollars an hour.”

He uses the app only during peak hours which allows him to maximize the amount of money he could make in a single day. He did explain that there are ups and downs to doing this type of job since he is using his car and the gas price does not seem to be going down.

However, since he is still living with his parents his living expenses balance out.

“I still live at home so I don’t have too many bills. Mostly just the car insurance, repairs if needed, and stuff like oil changes and registration. I currently get financial aid and after that, I have to take out a loan about $2,000 in loans each semester.” Luckily he has a job that can work around his school schedule and does interfere with his school life and his loans help him pay for tuition. 

In Vega’s case, he has a job that can make roughly make $20 an hour and does not have to work so many hours but not all students around the United States have this same advantage.

According to Costs Down, Wages Up: Can You ‘Work Your Way’ Through College?”, an article written by Elizabeth Renter “not every locale is benefitting from such increases. Twenty states either don’t have a minimum wage or have it set to match the federal minimum wage: $7.25 per hour. At that rate, a student would need to work 51 hours a week to pay the cost of attendance.” 

Since it’s obvious that full-time students cant work 51 hours a week it became really common for students to take out student loans through FAFSA. This report stated that “still, in the 2020-2021 school year, undergraduates borrowed $44.7 billion in federal student loans.

”It’s much more common for students to take out loans because it’s the smartest idea even though many people have negative thoughts about this,” Vega said. 

He continued saying “It’s harder to handle a job and pay your tuition at the same time. It’s quite impossible.” 

Regardless of the struggles, Vega was smart enough to work a flexible job that does not put in jeopardy his education and his student loan helps him out with school expenses and any other additional expenses along the way. 

Loans are often a necessary part of going to college, and students would be wise to not jeopardize their chances of earning a degree by running themselves ragged at a job that may not have a dramatic impact on their bottom line.”