EUROSTUDENT report: students are increasingly working alongside studies; the majority of internships are unpaid

20The majority of students in Europe work alongside their studies. The share of working students has been steadily increasing. Half of students work because they would not be able to afford to study otherwise. The majority of internships, even mandatory ones, are still unpaid. These are some findings of the EUROSTUDENT VII Synopsis of Indicators report. The report incorporates the data of 25 Europe countries, including Lithuania.

On average, almost 80% of students in the EUROSTUDENT countries have a paid job; around 60% work during the lecture period; 18% work only during the lecture-free period. The highest proportions of working students can be found in Iceland, the Czech Republic, Romania, and Turkey where over 90% of students workwhereas this applies to at most 60% of students in Luxembourg, Georgia, and Portugal. Working alongside studies is more common among students who are older than average, study at Master’s level, do not receive public financial support, and whose parents do not have tertiary education.

Employment is not always a choice for students. 68% (more than 80% in Lithuania) of students work due to the necessity to cover their living costs; half of students work because they would not be able to afford to study otherwise. This is most often the case for students whose parents did not attain a tertiary degree themselves. The income generated from paid jobs plays an important role in students’ budgets, accounting on average for almost two thirds of the income of students working during the lecture period. It is important to ensure learning flexibility so that such students can successfully pursue their studies alongside their paid jobs.

On average, 43% of students in the EUROSTUDENT countries have completed an internship at some point in their studies. A striking finding is that the majority of internships, even mandatory ones, are unpaid. On average, 19% of internships are mandatory and paid, 54% mandatory and unpaid, 14% voluntary and paid, and 12% voluntary and unpaid. Only 10% of internships are paid in Lithuania. It is noted that different students’ groups do not necessarily have equal opportunities to complete an internship, as fulfilling internship requirements may cause problems for students relying on a paid job to finance their studies.

EUROSTUDENT is a network of researchers as well as data collectors, representatives of national ministries, and other stakeholders who have joined forces to examine the social and economic conditions of student life in higher education systems in Europe. The beginning of EUROSTUDENT goes back to the 1990s. The project is carried out by a consortium represented by seven European countries, including Lithuania. EUROSTUDENT often provides a unique perspective, as comparable indicators are not available through other data sources.