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Can you work your way through college?

Can you work your way through college?

JRF | Mar 19 2013 |  · · · 

In an article by The New York Times, several college students were interviewed about their debt-free education. These students excelled academically and worked nearly full-time jobs to avoid colossal debt when they graduated.

One of the students, Steve Boedefeld, enrolled in the military and did several tours of duty to save money before coming to college. He now goes to Appalachian State University and works 15 to 20 hours a week as an electrician. He forgoes time with friends to be with his family and study when he’s not working to support his education.

Zack Tolmie, a graduate of New York University, saved $8,000 before coming to college. When he arrived, he worked as a waiter and took on extra shifts. Along with the help of a merit scholarship, Tolmie was able to graduate debt free. Since graduating, Tolmie found a full-time job in New York City.

Zack and Steve are not the norm. College debt has risen to $1 trillion over the past few decades and will continue to increase. Most students accumulate some kind of debt before graduation.

Many JRF scholars balance school, work and family responsibilities. Four out of five JRF scholars are the heads of their households, whether they are single parents or caring for disabled partners or simply the only ones earning income. For some, working is not an option, it is a given. A job puts food on the table, keeps the water and power on, and makes sure a family has a place to live.

Despite all of these responsibilities, JRF scholars are succeeding. We often see 4.0 GPAs and more than 80% have graduated or are still enrolled in class.

How do you balance work and school? Post your comments below.

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