Ask any college student if holding down a job makes it tougher to study, and the answer is pretty predictable.
But, if you want proof, you can find it in a new study conducted by CalPIRG, the California Public Interest Research Group.
A new report just published by the group says that when community college students must work to pay for school, their grades suffer and it takes them longer to complete their education.
"It's like 50-50," said Kareem Lewis, a student at L.A. Trade Technical College. "I have to squeeze in a little bit of work and squeeze in a little bit of everything else."
CalPIRG contacted 2600 students at 18 campuses including L.A. Trade Technical and Santa Monica College, to gauge how work impacts the community college experience.
The report called "Working Too Hard To Make The Grade" says financial aid can ease the burden, but many students don't know that they can apply for it.
"Our studies have found that students eligible for financial aid don't apply for it." said Margaret Howe, a CalPIRG campus organizer. "Sometimes they don't know they're eligible or they have misunderstandings."
Howe said CalPIRG believes everyone has a stake in the graduation rate of students who could be future professionals.
"We aren't actually meeting the need that we have for college graduates as a state." She said. "We wanted to find out why."
And, of course, rising tuition rates and tough times are not helping.
"I work more than I come to school." said Sandra Fuentes, another L.A. Trade Tech student. "I used to go to school more than I work."