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Recent study shows students stressed about finances

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Feeling stressed about paying for college might not be an uncommon feeling, according to a recent study done by a research team from Ohio State’s Office of Student Life and College of Education and Human Ecology.

The study’s data came from 52 institutions across the country and nearly 19,000 students, and it found that 70 percent of college students are stressed about personal finances while nearly 60 percent worry about their ability to pay for school.

“Around 50 to 70 percent of college students report stress around financial issues, and what we’re trying to do is to help students manage that stress so that stress can improve their financial behaviors but not impede their academic progress,” said Catherine Montalto, a professor in the education and human ecology department and one of the study’s researchers.

The study also found students at two-year public institutions were more likely to be stressed than their peers at four-year public and private schools and that 64 percent of college students take out loans to pay for college. Of those, a third of students owed less than $10,000, and about 20 percent owed more than $30,000.

Patrick Goth, fourth-year in finance and economics who works with Scarlet and Gray Financial in the Student Wellness Center, said loans were a common topic among students who came into the office.

“Students come to us with student loans not understanding the implications of what that means on their finances, particularly as they get later into their college years towards graduation with repayment on the horizon,” he said. “They’re wanting to understand what that means in their life after they graduate from Ohio State.”

About 24 percent of students in the study expected to owe between $30,000 and $49,999 on graduation day, and about seven percent of students expected to owe more than $80,000 upon graduating.

For students who are struggling with finances, Montalto suggested they take advantage of programs available to students through the Student Wellness Center, the Younkin Success Center, Student Legal Services and the Student Services Center.

Montalto suggested students with problems with credit scores consult Student Legal Services, and those who become stressed as a result of their finances go to the Younkin Success Center on Neil Avenue for stress management.

But despite the stress students go through, Montalto said there are still students who think it’s worth it to go to college.

“Despite reported stress by our students, students really are quite optimistic about their financial futures and really do view their college education as an important investment,” Montalto said.

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