Students Point to Pandemic as Biggest Hindrance to Financial Future, New Survey Finds

By Hugh T. Ferguson, NASFAA Staff Reporter 

The coronavirus pandemic has not only upended the college landscape for students — it has also changed how they feel about their financial futures.

According to a new survey released by WalletHub, 66% of college students say COVID-19 has changed how they feel about their financial future, with the ongoing pandemic outranking a lack of money, or financial literacy as having the greatest impact on their economic well-being.

The crisis has stoked these fiscal concerns, but it has also improved some aspects of student aptitude when it comes to their financial security.

“The coronavirus has increased financial literacy among college students overall, with 6 in 10 students reporting an improvement in financial aptitude as a result of the pandemic,” said Jill Gonzalez, an analyst at WalletHub. “This is actually one sliver of a silver lining that we can take from COVID-19. Young people are watching what’s going on and learning just how important financial security really is when the unexpected can happen at any time.”

Yet the survey also found that a number of students relied on financial assistance, with students from medium-income households being twice as likely to be held back by a lack of financial literacy as compared to higher-income households. Additionally, 40% of college students reported receiving assistance on their credit card statements from their parents.

While students might have a better grasp on their financial needs, they also believe that the ongoing prevalence of the virus will dampen their professional prospects.

“Nearly 7 in 10 students believe the pandemic will make it harder for them to get a job,” Gonzalez said. "However, blaming everything on the pandemic is a bit shortsighted. We owed more than $1 trillion in student loan debt well before the coronavirus was a twinkle in that Wuhan bat’s little eye, and opportunities for advancement have decreased with the shift to online learning.”


Publication Date: 8/20/2020

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