Whether you’re currently a student or you just like learning
more about financial wellness, getting more information about student financial
stability is always interesting. There’s a lot to learn about how debt affects
students, but something you may not have thought about is students’ short-term
financial states. How does college affect the money students have right now?
This OneClass survey about how much students have
in their bank account may give you a bit more insight.
All the Numbers
The numbers of the study are really what make it interesting. OneClass asked students, “How much money is in your bank account right now?” Including checking and savings, this is how students responded.
- 13.5% said $0-$50
- 22.8% said $51-$500
- 10.5% said $501-$1,000
- 10.3% said $1,001-$2,000
- 20.1% said $2,001-$5,000
- 13.0% said $5,001-$10,000
- 9.8% said $10,001 or more
These numbers already show a few trends that you might find
interesting. But to really get into what the responses mean, you might want a
little bit more information about how you can apply them to the real world.
Here are some conclusions you might want to take away from this study.
The Most Common Response Is $51-$500, Then $2,001-$5,000
When analyzing these responses, you’ll see that the most common response, with 22.8% of the responses, is $51-$500. This is a startlingly low number – it’s barely enough to cover an emergency expense. But even more interesting is the fact that the second most common response is $2,001-$5,000.
Although this seems very odd, you might want to consider how the survey calculates the categories. $2,001-$5,000 stretches across nearly $3,000, which is actually $1,000 more than all other categories up to that point. Regardless of how you see it, it’s clear that students tend to err on the side of lesser financial stability, and these two responses show that well.
A Surprising Number of Students Have Less Than $500
Overall, 36.3% of students said that they have either $0-$50 or $51-$500 in the bank right now. That’s over a third of students that indicated that they have less than $500 in the bank. That number is worryingly low, and it reflects very strongly on student finances as a whole. Students have very high outgoings, having to pay for tuition fees, rent, food and socializing, and very low incomings, with most either not having enough time for a job or being in a low-paid, part-time job. Fortunately, this should begin to change over the next few years as technology has opened up more opportunities for students to earn money with jobs like student marketing. Student marketing has advanced greatly from the days of a pool of students answering phones at a desk all day. Instead, they now have the ability to log in to an app from home where they can choose and complete tasks sent to them. This informal line of work, where a student can dip in and out of the job as and when they need the money, can help them to build some financial stability.
In general, you can see that the chart leans toward lower finances, but just looking at a pie chart doesn’t necessarily do this one justice. It’s important to note that these individuals don’t just have a small amount; they may not even be able to pay off a $400 surprise expense, the bar that the Federal Reserve uses in its yearly survey to determine Americans’ financial wellness.
Over Three-Quarters of Students Have Less Than $5,000
When you look at the bigger picture, these numbers actually paint a surprisingly grim picture of student financial stability. Over three-quarters of students responded that they currently have $5,000 or less in their bank account, which isn’t even really enough to prepare for an unforeseen financial emergency such as a layoff or medical event.
This is also an important number because there’s less chance of it being due to simply unfortunate timing. Although over one out of every eight students indicated having less than $50, that may be because a student just paid bills and will get a paycheck tomorrow. This number indicates more of a broad trend that you can see in student finances overall.
Sure, this survey seems to paint a pretty bleak picture of students’ finances. But it’s important to note that some students may not have to use this financial situation to pay for everything. Some students get financial assistance with bills, textbooks, and other college requirements. Still, it’s an interesting survey if you want to know more about how students relate to money overall, and it provides some incredible insights into short-term student finances.