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A lot of Hungarian university students need to work up to 8 hours a day just to get by, reports How do they manage? Why do all these students need to prioritise work instead of school? Here is why.

According to recent findings from a Eurostudent survey, every third Hungarian university student maintains a job throughout her/his university career (working during the semester, during the exam period and breaks as well).

60% of the Hungarian university students work just to get by: pay the rent, pay the bills and buy food. Every second participant said that they would not be able to attend university if they did not work at the same time.

18% of students reported that they work to support their family: their parents or their own children.

How much students work

Only 18% of the participants said that they work a maximum of 20 hours a week (4 hours a day). 34% reported working much more than that. They frequently have to work 6 or 8 hours a day.

Why is this a problem?

Students who reported to work more than 20 hours a week also reported to trying to minimise the amount of time spent with studying and preparing for classes to be able to work more shifts. Students cannot attend lectures, and sometimes they make arrangements with the professors to skip seminars too for extra homework so that they can go to work.

Tibor Gulyás, president of The National Union of Students in Hungary (HÖOK) said:

“There is nothing wrong with students working if they decide to get jobs to gain experience in their field so that it will be easier for them to find future employment. However, the majority of Hungarian students start working because they are in a pretty bad financial situation, and they would not be able to go to school otherwise … It is important that students actually attend the courses because it matters in terms of the quality of training and education they get, as well as the quality of their degree.”

Findings of Eurostudent’s survey reveal that only half of the participating students were working in a field that was related to their studies.

How could this be fixed?

Educational grants and scholarships have not been raised since 2007 in Hungary.

A regular student gets HUF 15,000 a month on average in the form of a scholarship. You do the math. Even orphans or students with serious disabilities get only HUF 23,800 a month. It is impossible to get by relying solely on the scholarship provided by the Hungarian government.

Acording to HÖOK’s calculations, scholarships and grants need to be raised by at least 40%.

The Hungarian government has been notified about these issues repeatedly, but no significant changes happened so far.

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