In the world of education, this means finding a job with enough hours to keep you on track.
But how much of that money is left to give to students, and how much is going toward the cost of attending college?
In a world of student debt and student loan debt, it can be tricky to know where the money goes.
The answer, according to new research, is not always obvious.
When looking at the amount of money going to education and social welfare programs in the U.S., it’s not easy to figure out how much students are actually getting paid for the work they do.
That’s because the data doesn’t reflect the costs of attending a school or college, said Elizabeth Pomerantz, an economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
So Pomerant and her colleagues created a new system that does.
Using data from the U;s Department of Education’s (DOE) Survey of Earned Income, Pomerants team tracked student loan payments for students in three categories: Pell Grants, the most popular program, and loans from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
They also looked at the percentage of those loans going toward tuition, books, and other expenses.
The results are pretty clear.
Student loan debt for students enrolled in four-year institutions is about $3,000 per year, or just under $1,000 for a family of four.
This is less than half the average amount of student loan interest that students are paying.
For a family, that means students pay about $500 in tuition for each year of college, or about $2,000 in the case of Pell Grants.
But for families with less than a bachelor’s degree, that’s not so much: A family of two would pay about half that amount.
In addition, Pompers team also looked to see how much each student was earning for each hour worked during their first two years at the school.
For those students, they found that while the median earnings were just under half of the average, their average weekly earnings were nearly three times the median.
This suggests that for many students, their earnings are far higher than what they would make at their school, and even more than the average for their age.
The takeaway: Paying for college is really hard to do in a world where the cost is high and the rewards are scarce.