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Atlanta University (AU)


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This study grew out of the writer's assignment as the first full-time Work-Study director at Emory University. The major task of the writer was to deve1op a comprehensive College Work-Study program that would include the main campus, the Oxford campus and the Atlanta Urban Corps. Heretofore, the university had participated quite minimally in this federal program with only four divisions on the main campus participating.

The writer's initial proposal to the Office of Education resulted in the university receiving a grant of $330,430 compared to $48,000 received the previous year. The writer then decided to conduct a study to determine the degree of job satisfaction among Work-Study students.

The writer sought-to acquire some sense of the students' attitudes towards their work experience, not to evaluate the Work-Study Program or its administration. The distinction is worth emphasizing, for there are often quite different feelings towards the program that makes financially possible continued enrollment in college and jobs that may be routine and low-level; to put it in conceptual terms, the difference between work motivation and job satisfaction. Many of the participants, as shown by their volunteered comments on the questionnaire, have a clear sense of those distinctions. As nearly as can be inferred, however, from formal analysis and the remarks on the questionnaire, the students' attitudes appear to form a consistent whole of rather positive sentiment towards all of those aspects of job and program.

A wide range of work education programs are already being conducted across the country involving a mixture of part-time work and part-time school, and judging from descriptions of such programs, most were launched directly from the drawing board without benefit of experimental analysis or development. This study analyzed data on the Emory College Work-Study Program to determine program features which are most associated with student satisfaction. Satisfaction is an important dependent variable because College Work-Study programs are increasingly an integral part of financial aid packaging and the program will only succeed if students are satisfied with their work experience.


A questionnaire was designed for the survey covering various relationships between the participants and the Work-Study experience. The questionnaires were answered anonymously, although the students were asked to indicate their class and sex. The twenty-nine questions fell into five general areas of inquiry: financial need, general information about the job and its importance in the college experience, skills developed during employment, personal development, and values derived from the work situations. Most of the answers provide a choice along an ordinal ranking. In addition, the students were invited to answer an open-ended question.

Subjects for the study included the total population (176) of the Work-Study students enrolled in Emory College in the Spring of 1977. The respondents divide rather evenly among the four years of college, with the earlier years showing a slightly higher proportion, from 29.2 percent of the respondents being freshmen to 21.7 percent in the senior class. Some 71, or 58.7 percent, were male; and 50, or 41.3 percent, were female.

A consideration of the findings which resulted from an analysis of the data yield the following conclusions:

1. Of the four independent variables used to test the null hypotheses, none were significant enough to reject them.

2. Women in the Work-Study program experience a much higher degree of satisfaction with their jobs than do their male counterparts.

3. Women also felt, to a significantly greater degree than men, that they had matured on the job. They were consistently more positive than men about having developed social skills through this work, gaining a sense of accomplishment, and learning to work with others.

4. A majority of students, both male and female, found other than financial benefits in their jobs, as evidenced by the response to the question, "If your parents could finance your entire education, would you still want to work part-time?" Yes, was the answer from 57.9 percent; 20.7 percent were undecided, and only 21.5 percent said no.


Future research should consider other methods of measuring job satisfaction. The one used in this study should be refined and enhanced. ‘A better procedure might include a measure of the discrepancy between what Work-study students want from their jobs and what they perceive their jobs can offer them, as well as some index of the importance of given job characteristics.

Finally, there is also a debit side to holding a Work-Study job that must not be overlooked. The majority of the students feel pressured for time. Employment leaves too little time for studying, family and friends, or for athletics and extra-curricular activities. Whether this finding is unique to the Work-Study population remains unknown without a control group which would provide a means for assessing whether the same constraints apply to any group of working students. For the moment, the testimony of the Work-Study students must stand.

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