Office of Planning and Budgeting

NSSE Survey Finds Students’ Finances Affect Their Studies

As a means of both acknowledging and analyzing the recession’s impact on students, this year’s National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) included a new set of questions asking how students’ finances affect their stress and academic activities. Approximately 15,000 first-year and senior students from “a diverse group of 43 institutions” responded to the new addendum.  The results, which were released last week, indicate that “finances were a significant concern for the majority of students.” 

As seen in Table 5 from the official report:

  • The majority of students frequently worried about paying for college and regular expenses.
  • Roughly 1 in 3 students said financial concerns interfered with their academic performance.
  • About 30 percent said they frequently chose not to buy required academic materials due to cost.
  • More students looked into working more hours than into borrowing more money as a way to cover costs.
  • Approximately 3 in 4 students still agreed that college is a good investment.

In addition to these findings, the study found that over 55 percent of full-time seniors said that their choice of major was influenced by factors such as ability to find a job and/or the prospect of career advancement.  Yet, 89 percent of students overall said the most influential factor in choosing a major was still how well it fit with their talents and academic interests.


One Response to “NSSE Survey Finds Students’ Finances Affect Their Studies”

  1. Mark Reimers on November 20th, 2012 12:38 pm

    I went to a state college in California in the mid 70’s and I recall that my tuition was about $125 a quarter and my books probably cost just a little more than that. My son graduated from a state school just a couple of years ago and we were very fortunate that the majority of his education was paid for through state grants. I honestly don’t know if we could have managed were it not for that funding. Since he completed his degree, I know that costs have risen dramatically.

    When a college education is financially out of reach of many, many young men and women, we have a serious problem. We are falling so far behind the rest of the world in the level of education we provide to our children it is embarrassing. We will pay a heavy price for our stupidity in the not so distant future.

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