22 SES 08 B, Paper Session
Student employment is a complex phenomenon, and in this transitional period the status of students and workers is constantly changing. Career entry can no longer be interpreted as a one-time and completed process. University students cannot be considered as a homogeneous group, and this is especially true for the group of working students. The group of working students is heterogeneous, so we have to pay special attention to the study of its diversity: Who, when, why and how do they work during their studies? How does student work influence student achievement? The task of educational research is to examine the influence of paid work in higher education on student careers and achievement. Ambivalent results are available on the influence of student work on academic performance (Astin, 1993; Pascarella & Terenzini, 1998, Perna, 2010; Riggert et al., 2006).The relationship between work and study, which is considered important in the literature mainly because study-related work has a positive impact on the student's academic career and subsequent employment. In addition, a number of Hungarian studies have highlighted that study-related work is mainly characteristic of students with more favorable status who do not work for financial difficulty. Working reduces learning time and academic participation. Academic participation not only about attending courses, but is also important for embedding in institutional culture and community, building relationships, and gaining university experience (Astin 1984; Tinto 1975). According to Tinto (1975), degree completion is strongly influenced by the university environment and the interactions that take place there. However, employment keeps students from embedding themselves in the institutional culture, integrating their academic experience, and thus increases the risk of dropping out (Riggert et al. 2006; Darmody–Smyth 2008; Perna 2010; Kovács et al. 2019). Previous research has established a different threshold for work intensity that can negatively impact academic performance. Some research suggests that a work intensity as low as 8 hours per week is already effective (Body et al., 2014), while others suggest that a work intensity of more than 25 hours per week can have negative consequences (Moulin et al., 2013). In our research, we investigate students' experiences and the integration of work and learning and the perception of effectiveness and examine which socio-cultural, individual and institutional factors influence students' employment. International and national research results confirm that the motivation for paid work is related to students' socioeconomic characteristics. The novelty of our research is that no research has been conducted in Hungary that examines the above factors. We examine the characteristics of student employment and their effects on student achievement through quantitative analysis, bivariate and multivariate statistical methods, and the inclusion of various social background variables.
The sample consists of full-time students in the 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 academic years who worked regularly during the semester (including exam time) (N=538). The sample is representative of faculties, year groups and educational levels. Questionnaires were created and recorded using the EvaSys system. The data were analyzed using SPSS 22.0. 538 students of the University of Debrecen filled in the questionnaire, and we tried to cover a wide range of faculties. In addition to descriptive statistical methods, cluster analysis was also used. Based on the most characteristic indicators of employment, we created student clusters. One of the most important indicators of student employment is the relationship between work and study. The second indicator that was included in the cluster analysis was work motivation. Respondents had to decide whether or not 9 motivational factors played a role in their employment. Our final indicator was for work intensity. We determined work intensity by considering work over 21 hours as intensive work. The following three clusters were formed: 1. needy, money-oriented cluster 2. leisure-oriented cluster 3. ambitious cluster. Gaining work experience, funding leisure programs, and independence from parents are characteristic of all three clusters, however, these motivational factors were also the most important in our previous research. The ambitious cluster includes students whose work is related to their studies and who work at a moderate intensity compared to the other two clusters. They are motivated by gaining work experience, they accept a job because of professional ambitions. The leisure-oriented cluster includes working students whose work is not related to their studies and who work most intensively. However, subsistence does not play a role in their employment. It is characteristic of only them to spend their free time wisely. The needy-money cluster consists of students who are most motivated by financial factors. This is because they are motivated by livelihood, funding programs, gaining experience, and independence from parents, and only for them did tuition funding emerge as a motivating factor. We examined the effect of employment on dropout and academic performance, along with the following clusters. We analyzed the socio-cultural background, institutional and individual characteristics of employed students. A variety of well-chosen methods were used in the analysis, such as cross-tabulation analysis, cluster analysis, and linear regression analysis.
Students in needy, money-oriented cluster work mostly on weekends and weekdays. They are dissatisfied with the coordination of work and learning, and our results so far show that even everyday financial difficulties occur more often in their case. The leisure-oriented cluster are nevertheless satisfied with their schedule, which may be due to the fact that they are not forced to work. In this cluster, these students are overrepresented who live in better than average conditions and have a higher proportion of 18-19 year olds. The last is the ambitious cluster, where students are characterized by a sense of purpose. Only these students are motivated by professional pursuit during employment, and only they have study-related job. Our results demonstrate that they are consciously trying to coordinate work with their studies, so they are completely satisfied with their schedule. When looking for a job, they rely more on their own relationships, the university career office, than on student job center that offer traditional student work. In the case of the needy, money-oriented cluster, nearly one-tenth of the students changed from government-supported training to fee-based training. There were several changes in the way training was funded. We examined what was characteristic of dropout rates in the clusters. 21.8% of students in the needy, money-oriented cluster had already interrupted their studies; students in the other two clusters were less affected by dropouts. Students in the needy, money-oriented cluster were overrepresented in that 6.4% dropped out due to financial difficulties and 9.1% dropped out due to employment. Students who have unfavorable family backgrounds despite their difficulties or who are disappointed with higher education are particularly at risk.
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