Students Working in College
The purpose of this study is to understand Loyola University New Orleans students' perceptions of work, including why students work, how many hours they work, and how working intersects with their outcomes.
Recruitment & Hiring
4-Year Institution
Elizabeth Rainey
Assistant Provost, Student Success
Donna Bourgeois
Director, Institutional Research

Both a student survey and a faculty and staff survey were administered as part of this project. The surveys were based on the work of Dundes and Marx (2006). Five student focus groups were also conducted.


The purpose of this study is to understand college students' perceptions of work at Loyola University New Orleans. In particular, we wanted to know why students work in college, how many hours they work, and how working intersects with their outcomes like persistence, GPAs, and graduation rates. Our study looks at how students define work, who tends to work, and contrasting that with the perspectives of faculty and staff at Loyola. We also looked at the impact of COVID-19 on perceptions of work.

Lessons Learned

Preliminary findings of the study include:

Students who lacked family financial support worked for a purpose - to pay for school and to live. Often, students wanted to alleviate financial burdens from their family members and to provide for themselves.

Some students expressed views that money makes them more independent from their families.

Students who worked a lot had limited opportunities to interact with others on campus, something many of them wanted to do. Students wanted more time for campus events and to spend time with their academic communities.

Students want to work with employers and supervisors who cate about their well-being. Their connection to their supervisors and peers was an important factor in their commitment to a job.

Students felt that the COVID-19 pandemic elevated awareness of mental health and wellness in the workplace.

For younger students, who were in high school in 2020, they had limited or different opportunities to work before college.

Faculty, staff, and students agreed that on-campus work was beneficial for students because it's flexible and works better with academic course schedules. On-campus work can be a model of a healthy work environment and builds a sense of belonging.

Interacting with professors as part of on campus work teaches valuable communication skills.

Students are often "mothered" by on campus supervisors and develop a sense of belonging at their on-campus jobs. Providing food to student employees was frequently mentioned as a way to show care and make students happy.