Finances Cause for Stress for Most Students –

Though it may come as no surprise that financial stress is a top area of concern for a majority of college students, a new survey released by the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) finds that financial stress can greatly hinder students’ academic performance.

In the report, which includes results from a 2012 survey of 285,000 first-year students and seniors attending 546 U.S. college and universities, findings reveal that in 2011-2012, 60% of first-year students and 62% of seniors often worried about having enough money for regular expenses. Additionally, 59% of first-year students and 53% of seniors worried about paying for college.

Those financial stresses were also present among full-time students who worked and increased as the number of hours worked per week increased. The report found that about two in five students who worked at least six hours per week frequently chose to not buy required academic materials due to cost. The percentage of students making this decision increased among those who worked six to 20 hours a week and even more for those students who worked 21 hours or more per week.

Additionally, about 60% of students working more than 20 hours per week said that they frequently investigated working more hours. However, nearly the same percentage of student workers agreed that their work schedule interfered with their academic performance. This suggests that financial concerns may take precedence over academic concerns for a large number of students. Still, the overwhelming majority of first-year students and seniors, including those who worked, agreed that college was a good investment.

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The report also examined the use of social media among students, with 89% reporting they use some form of it, mostly to make connections with friends and family. Additionally, 28% used social media to plan study groups or tutoring sessions, 33% used social media to complete assignments and class projects, 17% used social media to learn about internships, and 15% used social media to communicate with faculty or advisors.

However, more than two-thirds of all students used social media sometimes during class, with about one-third frequently doing so. The report revealed that students who spent more time using social media during class felt that their campus environment was less supportive and had lower grades.

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