College student time use

Archived From: Finance
  • Text Only
Voting History
rated:
Since we often discuss college costs, debt, etc. in FWF --
 
Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s American Time Use Survey from 2003–2014, during the academic year, the average full-time college student spent only 2.76 hours per day on all education-related activities, including 1.18 hours in class and 1.53 hours of research and homework, for a total of 19.3 hours per week.

Full-time high school students, in comparison, spent 4.32 hours per day on all education-related activities, including 3.42 hours in class and 0.80 hours of research and homework, for a total of 30.2 hours per week. Thus, full-time college students spend 10.9 fewer hours per week on educational activities than full-time high school students.

More: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2016/07/big-debt-little... 

Edit to add what appears to be a reasonable question:

On average, Americans will not work as little as they did at age 19 until they reach age 59, when significant numbers cut back on their work hours or enter retirement. With outstanding student loan debt currently at more than $1.2 trillion, these findings raise an important question: Why are taxpayers heavily subsidizing a period in some people’s lives when combined education and work efforts are at their lowest?

Full Disclosure & Stating The Obvious:  The statistics cited in the article are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The article's analysis & conclusion express the point of view of the author and (presumably) publisher, right-leaning Heritage Foundation.   Some left-leaning articles, from Brookings, on same subject:
http://www.brookings.edu/about/projects/bpea/papers/2015/looney-...
http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2016/01/07-student-loan...

Member Summary
Most Recent Posts
Any school and any major... I am basically a perpetual student.  I have a BS, a BA, and an MS and tons of extra courses ... (more)

Dus10 (Aug. 05, 2016 @ 9:09a) |

Or... not that.  I find if you come to class and pay attention, it doesn't take much.  Most folks don't pay attention, a... (more)

Dus10 (Aug. 05, 2016 @ 9:19a) |

Yeah I don't want to beat the dead horse either but...   THen I think they've forgotten to carry a 1 somewhere or used a... (more)

jerosen (Aug. 05, 2016 @ 12:58p) |

Staff Summary
  • Also categorized in:
Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

red for citing heritage garbage instead of bls data.

make student loans dischargable in bk, and you'll see lenders underwriting the degree and you won't see this nonsense

We as a nation promote higher education because a college degree used to be a signaling tool. Through probably the 1970s, university admissions for 4 year degrees were fairly competitive. College curricula - even for the liberals arts - were difficult enough that your average graduate came out with good critical thinking and analysis skills. This was valued, because it meant a college degree holder could be molded and trained to do whatever you needed them to do as an employer.

Both federal and state governments saw the premium being attached to a college degree and began to subsidize it with increasing amounts of loans and grants. Universities saw this and responded as anyone would when you had that kind of money being thrown at you - lower the standards to let more people in (to get more of that sweet, sweet free money). Universities became less about training people to think and more about enrolling as many people as possible with amenities students liked. Even better for schools, as higher-education was becoming highly subsidized, they could raise the price to astronomical levels and still get people (via government loans) to pay for it.

Thus we have arrived decades years later to our current situation. A higher-education system where people are pushed into getting 4 year degrees granted by universities that drop the standards and rigor to award more degrees. Your average college student spends little time on their education because a BA/BS in most cases is no longer a signaling credential - it is the new high school diploma. And higher-education institutions can feel free to raise the price by whatever they feel like, because the suckers will just keep on paying. Policymakers, still stuck in an entirely different era of workforce development, will continue to subsidize even as the effective value of a degree (outside of a narrow field of majors and top ranked schools) becomes less with each passing year.

By the way, I work in economic development and the obsession with college degrees is a serious problem. I've worked with some county governments where maybe 5% of the area employers actually need people with college degrees (rural, working-class areas). And yet, despite the fact that college degrees are not a solution for your workforce problems in that context, those counties often devise elaborate strategies to try and get their college graduate percents up and think it will be a economic panacea.

here's a better idea op. why don't you compare time use using the week between people who make 100k and 1mm?

BLS data includes all students whether they are receiving pell grants and student loans or not. So in among those students are kids getting $0 in aid of any kind. I would hazard a guess here that the students with no aid are also a lot more likely to not be working as they're getting full rides somewhere (parents most likely).

I bet you low income students work more on average. Low income students get more aid.

Run the numbers again and separate out the kids who get aid and work versus those that get no tax funded aid and don't work and tell me how many hours a week each spends.

rufflesinc said:   here's a better idea op. why don't you compare time use using the week between people who make 100k and 1mm?
I would like to see a comparison between the time spent working by corporate executives who make $1M and spend a lot of that money on hookers and drugs compared to the time spent working by the hookers and drug dealers, who might make more than $1M in some cases.

Factoid --

In 2016, 43 percent of individuals with federal student loans (or about 9.3 million borrowers) were either in default, were delinquent, or had postponed payments, owing more than $200 billion.

tuphat said:   Factoid --

In 2016, 43 percent of individuals with federal student loans (or about 9.3 million borrowers) were either in default, were delinquent, or had postponed payments, owing more than $200 billion.

  
What a misleading statistic if you are lumping people in deferral with those in default/delinquency 

DTASFAB said:   
rufflesinc said:   here's a better idea op. why don't you compare time use using the week between people who make 100k and 1mm?
I would like to see a comparison between the time spent working by corporate executives who make $1M and spend a lot of that money on hookers and drugs compared to the time spent working by the hookers and drug dealers, who might make more than $1M in some cases.

  What hooker is making $1M other than porn stars doing it on the side?

I suspect this does not include grad students - a big percentage of whom (perhaps the majority) depend on assistant ships.

A common rule of thumb I've always heard/used among this populace is you spend 1 hour/day for each credit you are pulling outside the actual class. E.g for a typical 10 credit semester - you should expect to do about 80 hours a week (7 days X 10 credits X 1 hour + 10 hours in the class itself).

Of course, this is only the grad students who can't afford to lose their free ride using RA/TA etc. However, there are so many of them (hundreds in smaller schools, thousands in bigger ones) that I'd guess they would skew the numbers a lot of included.

rufflesinc said:   
DTASFAB said:   
rufflesinc said:   here's a better idea op. why don't you compare time use using the week between people who make 100k and 1mm?
I would like to see a comparison between the time spent working by corporate executives who make $1M and spend a lot of that money on hookers and drugs compared to the time spent working by the hookers and drug dealers, who might make more than $1M in some cases.

  What hooker is making $1M other than porn stars doing it on the side?

Have you seen what some of these whores charge?  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eliot_Spitzer_prostitution_scandal

After the assignation on February 13, 2008, Spitzer paid her $4,300 in cash.

At $4,000/hr, she'd have to see five clients per week for one hour each to make $1M in a year.

According to the screen shot on that wikipedia page, appointments can cost well into five figures.

How is it that 'Drinking' didn't end up getting hours?

tuphat said:    Why are taxpayers heavily subsidizing a period in some people’s lives when combined education and work efforts are at their lowest?
  Then make it contingent on 3.0 GPA or whatever

Krazen1211 said:   How is it that 'Drinking' didn't end up getting hours?
  Its right there under eating and drinking. and socializing

Heritage foundation is a conservative think-tank. So I suspect this study to have a significant amount of political motivation ("beware of free college") baked into it!

I personally find that in pretty much everything, usually mixture of market based (i.e. "conservative") and regulated (i.e. "liberal") ideas work best.

In my personal opinion, a good model to use would be India in 80's and 90's. For any sought after disciplines (say - Engineering, Medicine), you have a limited number of spots in well known and good schools for which there are fierce competition (< top 1% and you have almost zero chance of getting in). People who managed to compete at this level - would get an almost free ride through school (well - free tuition, but not living expenses). People who could not had two choices. Either they could pay a lot of money going to the second tier "private" colleges, or they could go to other third tier colleges that did little other than give you a degree.

This made sure that people from all backgrounds could get top tier education if they could compete at this level and could do anything they wanted - irrespective of their parent's financial status. Others who could not quite make the cut were constrained by normal economic factors.

This picture has since been partially muddied by the large increase in tuition in some of the more desirable schools now (i.e. IIT's).

Some of the Ivy leagues here are trying to do the same thing here. e.g. You now pay almost nothing in Harvard if your family income in less than 60k. I've read news that some others (e.g. MIT) have also adopted similar approaches. This is a great start! The reason I consider this to be a good model is that it leaves the opportunity open for an inner city kid who does really well to easily afford education - constrained only by his/her ability to crack into Harvard/MIT (lots of issues in that process! but that is for later).

However, to really make a difference, this needs to be spread out to a lot more schools. e.g. if all state schools in all their campuses adopted this model (say - you pay $0 if your family earns <$100k/year) for any and all programs, and the students were not discriminated against based on this - then I can see it having a desirable impact at the scale necessary in the entire country.

But this now becomes almost indistinguishable from free college! In fact, making state colleges free may be more economically viable at this point given the savings in administrative costs with a more complicated income based approach.

In summary - ideologically driven articles (like this one) often can be very misleading in my opinion.

Link

The percentage of full-time 16- to 24-year-old college students who were employed declined from 52 percent to 40 percent between 2000 and 2013



Less work, and more (expensive) free stuff! Yay for the millennials for 2013.

I remember those days. Almost anyone who said they were too 'busy' to work 10-15 hours a week was flat out lying.

rufflesinc said:   
Krazen1211 said:   How is it that 'Drinking' didn't end up getting hours?
  Its right there under eating and drinking. and socializing

  

Yes, that looks like eating food and drinking regular non-alcoholic beverages, although that's a hell of a lot of time to take to eat. Liquor probably needs its own breakout.

I don't read anything on the Heritage Foundation website. They have a reputation of skewing, or even making up, statistics. That, along with a thousand other reasons.

rufflesinc said:   
tuphat said:    Why are taxpayers heavily subsidizing a period in some people’s lives when combined education and work efforts are at their lowest?
  Then make it contingent on 3.0 GPA or whatever

  3.0 will become the new 2.0.

stanolshefski said:   
rufflesinc said:   
tuphat said:    Why are taxpayers heavily subsidizing a period in some people’s lives when combined education and work efforts are at their lowest?
  Then make it contingent on 3.0 GPA or whatever

  3.0 will become the new 2.0.

  

I wonder. If you hand out free college and the recipient doesn't get a 3.0, how do you repossess the free college?

Krazen1211 said:   
stanolshefski said:   
rufflesinc said:   
tuphat said:    Why are taxpayers heavily subsidizing a period in some people’s lives when combined education and work efforts are at their lowest?
  Then make it contingent on 3.0 GPA or whatever

  3.0 will become the new 2.0.

  

I wonder. If you hand out free college and the recipient doesn't get a 3.0, how do you repossess the free college?

  1) Everyone will pass -- free money for colleges. 2) You sure sound a lot like Ruffles.

Krazen1211 said:   
stanolshefski said:   
rufflesinc said:   
tuphat said:    Why are taxpayers heavily subsidizing a period in some people’s lives when combined education and work efforts are at their lowest?
  Then make it contingent on 3.0 GPA or whatever

  3.0 will become the new 2.0.

  

I wonder. If you hand out free college and the recipient doesn't get a 3.0, how do you repossess the free college?

Charge them retroactively.

I know we live in a crazy polarized political environment, but the people saying "This is wrong because it is Heritage" are really showing their ignorance. Heritage has a conservative bias, but the bias comes in the kinds of things they choose to do research on. That is what political think tanks do - they hire academics and policy analysts to research issues that they care about. But while we should certainly keep their bias in mind, the fact that this comes from Heritage doesn't mean you just dismiss the entire thing. They aren't going to make up data or lie.

Same goes for Brookings and all the liberal think tanks. Dismissing them just because they don't come from the political side you agree with is a sign of someone who can't handle differing opinions. You also are living in a world of delusion if you believe 'politically neutral' places that do research don't have a bias. Here is a hint: research from all places comes with a bias, but you usually won't easily know the nature of the bias. At least you know what it is with Heritage.

magika said:   I know we live in a crazy polarized political environment, but the people saying "This is wrong because it is Heritage" are really showing their ignorance. Heritage has a conservative bias, but the bias comes in the kinds of things they choose to do research on. That is what political think tanks do - they hire academics and policy analysts to research issues that they care about. But while we should certainly keep their bias in mind, the fact that this comes from Heritage doesn't mean you just dismiss the entire thing. They aren't going to make up data or lie.

Same goes for Brookings and all the liberal think tanks. Dismissing them just because they don't come from the political side you agree with is a sign of someone who can't handle differing opinions. You also are living in a world of delusion if you believe 'politically neutral' places that do research don't have a bias. Here is a hint: research from all places comes with a bias, but you usually won't easily know the nature of the bias. At least you know what it is with Heritage.

There's a notion in this country that media reporting should be objective, not subjective.  It's an ideal that is often aspired to, but rarely ever met.  Press members wishing to be subjective have an editorial page they can use, or twitter, or facebook, or an online blog, or their own website, or whatever.  It's so easy now to be heard and get your opinions out there, particularly for anyone with some name recognition.  Press should report facts, not opinions.  I find they rarely do their jobs properly.

I personally don't think it is very difficult spotting if the research conducted were done by people competent in the scientific methodology.

In hard sciences, you can only choose the beginning topic. After that - the path it takes you into is purely driven by hard facts and logic. E.g a few years ago there were a lot of brouhaha about someone solving the P=NP problem in CS (for reference - solution to that problem right now has the potential to be the biggest thing ever in the history of humanity - as any other unsolved problem can now be reformulated for a computer to easily prove/disprove).

Well, it turned out that the researcher just missed a key assumption in the long proof - crumbling the entire effort.

The point is, in hard sciences, missing such implicit/unstated assumptions reflect poorly on the competence of the researcher. A willful pattern of it casts questions on his integrity - and best of luck getting anything published once that happens!!

In softer sciences - I find the standard of integrity used to be very different. In most papers and research topics I search unsuccessfully for a section on assumptions that would invalidate the conclusion arrived.

Given the abundance of complicating factors, if the same standard of integrity is applied to, say - a social sciences paper, that is commonplace in something like mathematics then I'd expect no more than 10-15% to be the actual subject matter - with the rest devoted to details of assumptions that could invalidate the conclusion arrived at!

As you mentioned - this issue is prevalent in all kinds of political hue, in fact in the entire academic field of social science. Indeed, I'd argue that the inability to handle different positions and point of views start primarily with the academics in this field (as evidenced by the missing 90% of their work that would make their work more credible) and only extends down to laymen ( like I) as a secondary problem!

avalon6 said:   tuphat said:   Factoid --

In 2016, 43 percent of individuals with federal student loans (or about 9.3 million borrowers) were either in default, were delinquent, or had postponed payments, owing more than $200 billion.

  
What a misleading statistic if you are lumping people in deferral with those in default/delinquency 


Yep

But the actual numbers are roughly:

3 million over a year behind
3 million over a month behind but not over a year
3 million in deferral

I'd also wonder how they were counting those who are behind on payments. IS it people who are late right now or people who have been over a month late in the past 12 months? I'd be surprised if less than 25% of people weren't late one at least one during their repayment term.

Krazen1211 said:   stanolshefski said:   
rufflesinc said:   
tuphat said:    Why are taxpayers heavily subsidizing a period in some people’s lives when combined education and work efforts are at their lowest?
  Then make it contingent on 3.0 GPA or whatever

  3.0 will become the new 2.0.

  

I wonder. If you hand out free college and the recipient doesn't get a 3.0, how do you repossess the free college?

same way it's done with scholarships, , base it on cumulative or semester gpa. if they don't take 12 hours and make 3.0, no money next semester

I find the bit about comparing college student time use to high school students to be particularly silly.

"on average, full-time college demands substantially less time commitment than do high school or regular full-time employment"

Think about the time spent in high school classes versus college.

Would The Heritage Foundation think its better use of our tax dollars for college students if we forced all college students to take gym class and study hall thus increasing their butts in the seats time more so they're more similar to high school??

avalon6 said:   
tuphat said:   Factoid --

In 2016, 43 percent of individuals with federal student loans (or about 9.3 million borrowers) were either in default, were delinquent, or had postponed payments, owing more than $200 billion.

  
What a misleading statistic if you are lumping people in deferral with those in default/delinquency 


Factoid Update:

Student debt statistics by loan status
Loans in repayment – $397.1 billion; 14.3 million borrowers
Loans in deferment – $99.2 billion; 3.4 million borrowers
Loans in forbearance – $89.5 billion; 2.7 million borrowers
Loans in default – $50.8 billion; 3.3 million borrowers

More at: https://studentloanhero.com/student-loan-debt-statistics-2016/
  

jerosen said:   I find the bit about comparing college student time use to high school students to be particularly silly.

"on average, full-time college demands substantially less time commitment than do high school or regular full-time employment"

Think about the time spent in high school classes versus college.

Would The Heritage Foundation think its better use of our tax dollars for college students if we forced all college students to take gym class and study hall thus increasing their butts in the seats time more so they're more similar to high school??

  The BLS statistics include educational time both in-class and out-of-class, e.g., homework, research.

tuphat said:   jerosen said:   I find the bit about comparing college student time use to high school students to be particularly silly.

"on average, full-time college demands substantially less time commitment than do high school or regular full-time employment"

Think about the time spent in high school classes versus college.

Would The Heritage Foundation think its better use of our tax dollars for college students if we forced all college students to take gym class and study hall thus increasing their butts in the seats time more so they're more similar to high school??

  The BLS statistics include educational time both in-class and out-of-class, e.g., homework, research.


I know that.

What did you think that has to do with what I said?

They are comparing college students to high school. They are saying college students dont spend as much time in class or work as high school. My point is that much of the time spent in high school classes is of little value. So it's a silly comparison.

Take out part-time students and those holding jobs and this might be interesting.

Krazen1211 said:   Link 

The percentage of full-time 16- to 24-year-old college students who were employed declined from 52 percent to 40 percent between 2000 and 2013



Less work, and more (expensive) free stuff! Yay for the millennials for 2013.

I remember those days. Almost anyone who said they were too 'busy' to work 10-15 hours a week was flat out lying.

 
Did you happen to see this NPR article? When tuition was cheaper, you could actually work over the summer to cover your tuition (or part time year round). The article assumes you're getting a Pell Grant and making up the deficit for tuition via work. Due to the increase in tuition and Pell Grants that didn't keep up, this is no longer an economic reality. You'd have to work full time all year to pay for the shortfall.  

Was it ever a secret that college doesn't require as much time as high school? I thought it was common knowledge. Did college ever require more time than high school?

Another thing I learned after college was that the harder it is to get into a college, the easier it is to study there. I don't know if it's because the students or teachers are better, the curriculum is less rigorous, or a combination.

There are 420,000 student athletes as well. They'll skew the numbers. Athletes generally don't work or work very little. They don't get student loans if they're getting scholarship. They might spend less time studying or in class. If you take the 12M full time students and assume that 420k of them are athletes that don't work then that will reduce the average hours worked by ~0.5 hr net.

scripta said:   Was it ever a secret that college doesn't require as much time as high school? I thought it was common knowledge. Did college ever require more time than high school?

 

  That is really hard to compare. OTOH working full time in industry requires a lot less time than either! 8 hrs and im outta there!

"Full-Time College Is Typically a Part-Time Endeavor

Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s American Time Use Survey from 2003–2014, during the academic year, the average full-time college student spent only 2.76 hours per day on all education-related activities, including 1.18 hours in class and 1.53 hours of research and homework, for a total of 19.3 hours per week."


Ok so the average student spend just 19.3 hours a week in school / study.

Sounds like part time.

But they're figuring the averages year round. Including the summers, spring break, and winter break when college is not in session. 19.3 hrs a week is about 1000 hrs a year.

But when I was in college we were only in session ~30 weeks a year. 1000 hr / 30 weeks = 33.5 hrs / week. Thats a lot closer to full time than not.

Yeah, college students get a lot of break time relative to full time workers. Is that a "problem" that should be fixed? Maybe. Why don't college students attend school year round anyway? Why do we have / need a summer break? Is it so college students can have 3 months off to go home and work on the farm? So they can "recharge" for 3 months as a break from the grueling studies? So they can go work for minimum wage in any low skill job to scrape up a few bucks to help pay 10% of their tuition bills? ... I don't know.

"including 1.18 hours in class and 1.53 hours of research and homework"

On average students spend less than 1.5 hrs studying out of class for every hour in class.

I recall the rule of thumb was 2-3 hours of study for every hour in class is recommended. I know I didn't study as much as I should have. So is the "problem" that students don't study enough? I'm sure there is truth to that. We also have a large % of students who don't graduate. Something like 40% of students don't graduate within 6 years, due to a variety of factors.

We as a society do spend a lot of money on college and it would be more effective if students were more successful.
But slashing student aid doesn't accomplish that.

Skipping 37 Messages...
tuphat said:   Not to re-litigate this, but FWIW -- I exchanged email with the Heritage researcher who co-authored the article.  She says that their college/university averages were for the academic year only.
  
Yeah I don't want to beat the dead horse either but...   THen I think they've forgotten to carry a 1 somewhere or used a incorrect formula in their XLS sheet or similar.  
The fact that the author claims she's right doesn't change my opinion or make the numbers work.   Something is amiss.  It does not add up.    
Their numbers claim that full time students take just 8 credit hours average and thats not even supported by the definition of a full time student nor any other survey or source available. 
How do you explain that?  You haven't.
 



Disclaimer: By providing links to other sites, FatWallet.com does not guarantee, approve or endorse the information or products available at these sites, nor does a link indicate any association with or endorsement by the linked site to FatWallet.com.

Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

While FatWallet makes every effort to post correct information, offers are subject to change without notice.
Some exclusions may apply based upon merchant policies.
© 1999-2016