Why Are College Students Studying Less?

A new study, The Falling Time Cost of College: Evidence from Half a Century of Time Use Data by Philip S. Babcock and Mindy Marks has revealed the college students spend much less time studying today than they did in 1960– a drop of 13 hours per week. From the study:

Using multiple datasets from different time periods, we document declines in academic time investment by full-time college students in the United States between 1961 and 2003. Full-time students allocated 40 hours per week toward class and studying in 1961, whereas by 2003 they were investing about 27 hours per week. Declines were extremely broad-based, and are not easily accounted for by framing effects, work or major choices, or compositional changes in students or schools. We conclude that there have been substantial changes over time in the quantity or manner of human capital production on college campuses.

The study does not have any conclusions as to why this may be the case. What do you think? Are time-savers like enotes.com have a real impact on how much time students need to study? Or are today’s students less engaged in their work?


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