Work Status by Age of College Students in Utah
September 19, 2019
In the Utah Data Research Center's latest report on Outcomes for Working College Students in Utah, it analyzed students ages 17 to 54 and separated them into two subgroups: ages 17-29 (younger) and ages 30-54 (older). This was to reflect the different decisions these groups make since younger students tend to attend college for the first time, while older students tend to be returning students and already established in the workforce.
The study reported that 50% of the older student group worked while 44% of the younger student group worked in 2016. Among both age groups, students who worked tended to have lower average GPAs, longer time to graduation, lower rates of retention, and higher rates of part-time attendance compared to those who did not work. Older students tended to have higher average GPAs than those from the younger group, but had a longer time to graduation, and lower rate of retention.
When looking at attendance, the portion of students attending college from the older group declined by 4% from 2012 to 2016, falling from 18% to 14%. This decline is likely due to a rise in employment in the years following the 2008 recession prompting older students to choose work over college.