United States Universities

Financial stress leads to academic stress

financial stress

Financial stress can affect a student’s concentration and performance in class, as much as other academic pressures. As a saying goes:

When the purse becomes empty, the mind becomes wary.

Recent data on college student’s interaction in universities showed a common cause for concern, the rise in the number of students experiencing financial stress. It may sound like a grown-up’s problem but students do experience them too, and it’s affecting their performance in school.

Financial stress in universities

Inflation is one considerable factor for the yearly increase in tuition fees for a handful of colleges in the US. The need for improvement and funding for newer facilities can also be a reason for school fees getting higher than the usual.
What does this translate into?
On average, a regular US household earns around $61,822 annually. The cost of sending a student into Syracuse University, for example, is $74,799. Even if the numbers went a bit higher, imagine spending more than half of a household’s annual income for one year in college.
With the majority of the budget going already to tuition, the remaining allowance left can be a bit minimal and could affect a student’s financial survivability on the campus. The same goes for university scholars who survive on a small amount of stipend coming from their scholarship sponsors.
Economics Professor Donald Dutkowsky from Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs said that a financial literacy initiative in college campuses is necessary.

It’s all about trying to move students forward so that they can be more successful in their studies and ultimately more successful in life, and I think that’s an important component of all that training, Dutkowsky said.

Effects of financial stress

Stress can affect all aspects of a person’s life, it might be not visual to others but it is a real burden to the person involved.

  • Social skills are greatly affected in a way that a person is afraid to spend on social events like gatherings, acquaintances, and other activities that need to spend on. We need to socialize to release our stress on different aspects of our life.
  • Food security; thinking of your week’s budget for food can affect you mentally. Having to live on a tight budget might make you skip a meal or two just because a project is coming up and money is way more needed on it rather than a meal.

These are just a few of some financial stress factors that contribute to a student’s academic stress. When students are warier on surviving rather than living, the college system has failed, says Maria Zhu an assistant professor of economics in Maxwell School.


Ken Vincent Rosales

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