Research shows that 62 percent of undergraduates work for pay during college. While previous studies suggested that student employment in college had negative effects, this analysis shows that if a longer time frame is considered, college students earn a sizable premium in earnings after graduation, compared to students who did not work as undergraduates.

This study of a large state university showed that employers pay a wage premium to students who worked as undergraduates for three reasons: completing a credential; accruing college credits (irrespective of completion); and accumulating a record of sustained work experience while in college.

In the study, researchers from the Rutgers Education & Employment Research Center (EERC) recommended that educators and policymakers consider undergraduate employment not only as a needed source of income but also as a stepping stone for students’ future careers.

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