Study: Students Worried About Debt, But Hopeful for Future


According to a new study out of Ohio State University, seven out of every ten college students in the United States are worried about their financial situation.

The National Student Financial Wellness Study found that 60% of college students worry they will not have enough money to pay for their education, while 30% reported being frustrated about their monthly finances.  In addition, 32% of students said they were falling behind in their studies as a result of their mounting debt.

“The number of students feeling financial stress is striking,” Anne McDaniel, the study’s co-author, said in statement Wednesday. Loan debt and finding ways to make ends meet pressured the American college students, McDaniel, who is also the associate director of research and data management at Ohio University’s Center for the Study of Student Life that conducted the study, said.

In all, the study found 64% of students paid for their college education through student loans.  Of those, 24% reported an expectation to borrow between $30,000 $50,000 by the time they graduate, writes Vishakha Sonawane for The International Business Times.

“About 30 percent of students with loans said they borrowed the maximum amount for which they qualify each year, which may not always be the best choice,” McDaniel said in the statement. “But the good news is that about half the students with loans said they tried to borrow as little as possible.”

In an effort to save money and not increase the amount of student loans they obtained, around 30% of those surveyed said they took fewer classes, while 16% took a break from school and 13% transferred to a cheaper institution.

The majority of students surveyed did say they felt hopeful when it came to their current financial situation, with around 80% saying they expected to be able to solve their finances by the time they graduate college.  In addition, 67% said they felt good about their future financial condition.

“Students feel good about their decision to go to college and think it will pay off in the end,” said Catherine Montalto, the study’s co-author and associate professor of human sciences at the university.

Researchers plan to use the results of the study to find a correlation between financial problems, graduation and other issues.  According to Montalto, it is the hope of researchers to be able to help students manage their stress in an effort to allow them to make better financial decisions, but not be so overwhelmed by them that their studies or health suffer as a result.

A total of 18,795 students from 52 two-and-four-year colleges and universities across the country were surveyed for the study, which took place between the fall of 2014 and winter of 2015.