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You are reading: Lower income students and the ‘double deficit’ of part-time work: undergraduate experiences of finance, studying and employability

Rita Hordósy, Tom Clark and Dan Vickers

Published in Journal of Education and Work 
July 2018

Abstract

This paper explores how the various pressures of finance, employability and part-time work are experienced by undergraduates studying in an English Red Brick University. Drawing on the results of a 3-year qualitative study that followed 40 students throughout their 3 years of studies (n₁ = 40, n₂ = 40, n₃ = 38, ntotal = 118), the paper details three dimensions by which students understood their part-time employment experiences: the characteristics of employment types; motivations for employment and the challenges of shaping their employment experiences around their studies. It is argued that the current shortfalls in the student budget and the pressures of the employability agenda may actually serve to further disadvantage the lower income groups in the form of a ‘double deficit’. Not only are discrepancies between income and expenditure likely to mean that additional monies are necessary to study for a degree, the resulting need for part-time employment is also likely to constrain both degree outcome and capacity to enhance skills necessary for ‘employability’.

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