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Students Stress

By MirasIrish21 Mar 09, 2013 7360 Words
Survey Reveals Significant Student Stress
APRIL 17, 2012BY CANVASS 4 COMMENTS
By Jay Panandiker and John Rowe.
Students of our generation face unparalleled pressure and challenges with society’s current emphasis on academic perfection. One of the most pressing challenges for students in recent times has been dealing with stress rooted in classroom expectations and onerous workloads. While many have argued that motivational and challenging stress is an instrumental part of the academic process, it is paramount that the stress is tactfully balanced to ensure the healthy lifestyle of the American high school student. A recent Canvass survey reveals that stress at Seven Hills is a major issue for a significant number of students. It is not uncommon in a high school environment for a few scattered students to claim that they have too much to do, and that they are stressed. However, this survey indicates it was not just a few students who believed their stress levels were too high, but, in fact, a significant portion of students. Out of the 204 students surveyed, only eight believe that they had no stress whatsoever. This number is dwarfed by the 29% of students who said that they had high stress and the 42% students who said that they were moderately stressed. When asked about their preferred levels of stress, students almost unanimously report that they wanted to be less stressed than they currently are. Very few selected that they are satisfied with high stress. Instead, 45% students, a much more sizable group, believe that they should have limited stress. According to the students surveyed, their stress comes from any number of sources; however the major causes are schoolwork and college preparation. School work seems to be the primary stressor across all grades, with 93% of those surveyed listing it as the primary source of stress. However college preparation is not far behind with almost 70% of upperclassmen listing it as an important stressor. College prep seems to be less important in the sophomore and freshman demographics. Another telling statistic is the amount of stress that came from the expectations of various groups, specifically parents, peers, teachers, and the school at large. Expectations from parents seem to be the largest stressor. Over 50% of those surveyed indicate that parental expectations are a source of moderate to high stress. On many surveys students claim that their parents had high expectations, especially in regards to Honors/AP classes. Others, however, claim that because their expectations of themselves are higher than those of their parents, they are less stressed. Many students report that teacher expectations are less of a stress source because teachers tend to be more accepting. Similarly, academic stress from peers seems not to be a huge issue, and it is frequently cited that friends are unconditionally supportive. Yet, some claim that their friends are academically competitive. Another revealing statistic is the pressure felt from expectations of the school at large: 50% indicated that the school as an institution caused moderate to extreme stress. Students frequently commented that the school’s high standards of excellence and the heavy emphasis on marketing has created a stressful environment. As opposed to school website from the 2010-2011 school year which featured five bullet points in a section titled “Just the Facts: Scholastic Achievement,” the current “Seven Hills by the Numbers” features twenty-six bullet points related to student performance on standardized test scores, which include new statistics about the amount of perfect scores achieved on tests. The effects of school related stress vary from student to student. Therefore, it is impossible to create overarching generalizations about the effects of the stress. Yet, it is possible to determine that stress can have both positive and negative effects on the average student. Hans Selye, a psychologist and one of the world’s pioneering stress researchers, separates stress into two categories: distress (negative stress) and eustress (positive stress). According to Selye, stress is often considered only malicious, while the beneficial effects of stress are ignored. Many psychologists tell us that our level of performance is directly related to the level of stress we experience. Positive stress can inspire us to do better and significantly improve our performance. One argument supporting the need for limited to moderate levels of stress is that stress helps increase preparation. For example, if a person is stressed about a presentation or test, they may practice and prepare more, therefore increasing their levels of confidence and ultimately performance. According to some, stress pushes you to grow, change, fight, and adapt. All life events, even positive ones, cause a certain degree of stress. Without these stresses, only limited achievements would be made. The positive stress that is caused by the school can motivate us to push ourselves harder and perform beyond expectations. However, the negative effects of stress seem to be much more well known. When someone thinks of stress they often think of mental clutter, sleep deprivation, and illness. The results of our survey indicate that sleep deprivation is a common problem at Seven Hills. According to the National Sleep Foundation, high school students are supposed to get close to eight hours of sleep per night. However, the Sleep Foundation reports that most teen suffer a sleep deficit. While losing an hour of sleep a night seems like a minor problem, over time this deficit can lead to more serious issues. More than half of teens surveyed by the Sleep Foundation reported that they have driven a car drowsy over the past year, and 15% of students in the 10th to 12th grades drive drowsy at least once a week. The signs of sleep deprivation, such as constant yawning and almost falling asleep in class, seem all too common for Seven Hills students. The Canvass survey results suggest that a large majority of students do not get enough sleep on an average night. 71% of students go to sleep after 11pm and 50% after 12. Going to sleep after midnight ensures that the student does not get enough sleep.   Other problems that that are rooted in stress are academic honesty issues. Often those who cheat do not have malicious motives, but rather are feeling crunched by a deadline or a busy week. While impossible to confirm, high levels of stress can force those who would not traditionally cheat to share answers on a take-home test or consult the Internet. It is also hard to measure how common academic dishonesty is at Seven Hills, because it is a difficult topic to survey. However many recent surveys, including one from Johns Hopkins University have found that as many as 75-80% of high school students have cheated in some form. Yet, in middle school these percentages are closer to 50%. Many students have cited stress due to large assignments, high stakes testing, and high performance expectations as a reason for their dishonesty. However, sentiments about stress seem to vary from student to student, often varying based on grade and course selection. According to the survey, freshmen and second-semester seniors seem to be the least stressed, while the bulk of the stress is found in the sophomore and junior classes. Because the surveys were anonymous, we also interviewed several students about their views on stress. Junior Anu Vora claimed to be “very stressed. I get about four hours of sleep a night.” She also mentioned that her primary stressors were “a little bit of everything, to be honest. Seven Hills is such a competitive environment. I feel like nothing is ever good enough.” She also added that the stress, however, does have one major positive. She claims that the stress allows her to excel, even if its at the expense of a healthy sleeping cycle. She suggests that it is the “Pay Me Now or Pay Me Later” philosophy and that the high stress now will pay off over the long run. When Canvass investigated student stress last year, many vividly and eloquently expressed their sentiments. Carson Quimby (12), who was interviewed as a junior, said, “School is not fun like going to the beach fun, it’s more like breaking off pieces of glass, rolling around in them, and then taking a bath in Tabasco sauce fun.” He cited Physics Honors as a main source of stress last year. Junior Katherine King said that her stress varies from day to day. She claimed that this year, however, she is experiencing much more stress than in previous years. This is primarily due to the increased work on extracurriculars, namely piano, and preparing for college. King speculates that as the next few months progress her stress level will increase: “The magnitude of the stress is greater.” King claims that she does get enough sleep. Sophomore Hannah Berger said that her stress was, “pretty high,” especially on the day we interviewed her. She mentioned multiple papers and large tests all due within the same week, an occurrence not uncommon amongst the student body. She also mentioned one instance where there was only a two day window between the time a paper was assigned and the day it was due. Yet, she said that her parents and teachers recognize when stress levels are high and are usually supportive. Berger suggested that she normally gets close to six hours of sleep, approximately two hours less than that which the Sleep Foundation considers a healthy level. Senior Alex Baggott describes his stress as reasonable now, but his current stress level is a far cry from where it was last semester, before he got into college. He said, “I was most stressed about getting into college because I applied Early Decision and loved Davidson so much I really wanted to get in.” He also added, “I was still trying to adjust to senior year classes, which was stressing me out a bit, but I have really great teachers who helped me get through it.” He said that he does get enough sleep because he does as much work as he can during his free bells, which leaves less work for at night. Baggott said that he manages his stress by listening to music while he works, and trying not to procrastinate. In addition to surveying students we also surveyed faculty for their opinions on student stress. When asked about the time that should be spent on homework for their subject there were clear divisions between Honors and CP classes. CP teachers are split amongst homework times with 28% of teachers suggesting their homework should take less than twenty minutes, and 42% saying homework should take from 30-45 minutes. 80% of Honors teachers suggest homework should take 30-45 minutes. However, many teachers indirectly suggested that the time spent on homework for their class should be more than the classes of their colleagues. This was a common complaint by students on their survey. Teachers, however, did appear to be generally receptive to stress levels. 50% of the teachers surveyed suggested that stress levels were either high or extreme. All the teachers believed that the stress level should be closer to moderate or limited levels. Many teachers also cited that school culture leads to students overburdening themselves. All teachers recognized that the culture encouraged some stress, with 86% of teachers saying that school culture moderately or significantly encourages student stress. Many teachers also note that stress plays a role when planning their classes with 66% suggesting it was a significant consideration. Another 86% believed to some degree that the Seven Hills environment values product over process, with 30% suggesting that product was valued “a lot.” Many students corroborated this feeling by commenting on their surveys that they believed the emphasis placed on statistics and test scores, especially standardized test scores, greatly enhanced their stress. As the survey results suggested, teachers had varying views on stress. They also showed this when interviewed. English teacher Amy Wyatt said that usually the stress level was moderate and positive, but at times it could be extremely high. Compared with the previous school where she taught, Hanover High School in New Hampshire, she said that Seven Hills students tend to be less stressed and less high-strung. Head of Upper and Health Teacher Nick Francis believes that stress varies from student to student, but there is some stress. He also made it clear that not all the stress is necessarily bad, specifically that the stress increases motivation. Ideally, Francis believes that the student body should have no negative stress, but everyone should have a healthy amount of eustress. He also said that stress from the school at large is hard to prevent, but is a consideration. He said often advertised statistics, like matriculation and standardized test scores, can lead to students feeling the need to meet high expectations. He also believes that the school did not actively encourage students to overburden themselves, and did not think that GPA competitiveness was a big deal. He said, “Parental expectations can often lead to stress especially with these statistics, but high schools tend to do what’s right for the kid.” Francis also added that one way to reduce stress caused by the school at large could be through not announcing college acceptances and National Merit Scholars. However, he said that not making these announcements would lead to a lack of deserved recognition. He also believed that societal factors such as school rankings, like the US News and World Report College List, can also cause stress. When asked about addressing the negative effects of stress that are often ignored outside of health class, he said, “The faculty often talk about [how to address stress]. The stress level of the students is definitely in the conversations, as are solutions.” He cited new ideas like block scheduling and midterm exam reform as potential solutions to the student stress problem. He also said that the already existing test calender, long lunch, and free bells helps relieve stress. Francis said that, “A large percentage of the students probably do not get enough sleep. Currently I do not have a brilliant solution to the problem. Sleep is also a problem across many schools.” He also said that the causes of academic honesty often vary between malicious intent, procrastination, overburdening, and stress. History teacher Jen Faber said that she sees the stress level vary from student to student, but the general level is high. She said, “Often students can be very competitive.  Usually the stress seems to peak junior year and the first semester of senior year.” Faber believes that “time management is very important. However parental pressure especially about grades can be stressful.” She also said, “Process is definitely more important than product. However product will be important until there is systemic change.” Faber added that the number of opportunities that Seven Hills offers can be both a blessing and a curse. She said that while the extracurricular opportunities are important due to the fact that it exposes students to new experiences, it can also allow students to overburden themselves. Faber said that in her ideal class there would be no tests, and “I would give everyone an A on the first day…They would care more about the material and the process than the grade at the end of the quarter.” She believed that parents can be one of the biggest stressors even if the stress is subliminal: “Sometimes it seems like parents want to go to Seven Hills through their students.” College Counselor Wynne Curry agreed that college preparation can be very stressful, particularly for upperclassmen. This opinion was also reflective of the survey results. She said that the stress can come from various sources, including college essays for the Common Application and supplements. In addition, she mentioned that students must balance this with other schoolwork, like homework, tests, and presentations. She also said, “the uncertainty of not knowing where you will be after your senior year can be stressful. Students want to know.” She added that stress levels can vary from student to student during the process. However, she believes that college counselors try to relive student stress. “What we try to help with is time management so [the assignments] are all not due on one weekend. We help them break down the tasks into discrete manageable tasks. We also talk to them about their fears and what their feeling.” Curry said that in the last few years students have become increasingly stressed about standardized testing. She said that students are beginning to prepare earlier, take more prep classes, and spend more time on individual preparation. Curry, who is also Chair of the School Disciplinary Committee, said that in the last five years the number of stress related academic honesty issues has dramatically increased. She said that not all students have malicious intentions, but rather the issue was a result of a pressing deadline. Curry said, “[Stress] can cloud kids’ good judgement. When stress and anxiety levels are high, cognition and reasoning powers go down.” This recent foray into school stress has revealed some insightful conclusions. While all sides in this matter seem to unanimously agree that a certain amount of stress is needed for optimum results, so too do they agree that currently the stress level at Seven Hills is above a healthy amount. Everyone seems to also agree that the overall health of the student is, above all, most important. So, as students get less sleep and develop worse judgement from the pressures of high expectations, it is still amazing to see what they are able to accomplish day in and day out. Yet, if students’ stress levels were decreased to a level that was largely beneficial, then students’ performances could increase to an even higher degree, but, more importantly, the students at Seven Hills could build healthy lifestyle habits with more balance in all facets of life, not just grades and test scores. Students, teachers, and the school itself seem to be working toward this goal with careful thought and perseverance to try and create an improved learning environment for the future. The reporters would like to thank juniors Cullen Deimer, Nicholas Au-Yeung, Ian Hillenbrand, and Claire Romaine and the Journalism class for helping with data collection and compilation. 

http://www.google.com.ph/#hl=fil&tbo=d&sclient=psy-ab&q=students+stress+survey&oq=students+stress&gs_l=hp.1.1.0l3j0i30.0.0.1.444.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0..0.0...0.0...1c.eZXx4tHYvyQ&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&bvm=bv.1357316858,d.bmk&fp=fd5aac0be7587838&biw=1366&bih=667

Student’s ‘Meltdown’ Generates Stress Survey, Important Discussion by AMY MARCOTT on DECEMBER 11, 2012
in CAMPUS CULTURE, CLASSROOM, REMEMBER WHEN..., STUDENT LIFE There’s been a lot of talk about meltdowns on campus this semester, prompted by a student blogger for the Admissions Office, Lydia A. Krasilnikova ’14, who offered a moving account of dealing with the stress of being an MIT student in a post called “Meltdown.” It sparked a letter to the editor in the Tech by President Reif, who remarked on the outpouring of support the post received.

Admissions blogger Lydia A. Krasilnikova ’14, whose Oct. 29 blog post “Meltdown” was covered by NPR’s Boston branch and sparked a campus-wide discussion of stress at MIT. Two weeks following the post, walk-in visits to Student Support Services had tripled over the previous year. Read an interview with her. Recently, the Tech surveyed the student body about stress, and 3,191—about 29% of all students (35% of undergrads)—responded. The result is Under Pressure, a feature containing compelling—and interactive—infographics (you can filter results by a number of variables) as well as a list of supporting multimedia, such as videos, letters to the editor, a talk with the director of mental health at the Institute, profiles of student support groups, playlists for de-stressing, and more. A few of the survey results are highlighted below. According to the editor’s note to Under Pressure, 52% of students have, at one point, felt like they don’t belong at the Institute. There’s a nice interview with Dean of Admissions Stu Schmill ’86 assuring students their admission to MIT was not a fluke. The work that went into Under Pressure is impressive as is the MIT community’s support of this important topic. The Tech and the chancellor’s office will cosponsor a forum for students during IAP to discuss issues surrounding pressure and stress at MIT, and the Institute recently launched MIT Together, a portal to support resources for students.

Classes that stress students out the most. Click image to go to the interactive graphic. Under Pressure Snapshot
Just a few of the findings are below, but you have to check out the interactive graphics, which  break down stress by dorm, year, major, gender, and age; reveal how students split their time among sleep, work, and play as well as when they sleep; and show the single most stressful class by year or major. For freshmen, it’s 8.01 (physics, classical mechanics) and 7.012 (introductory biology). Sound familiar? * Grad students living in Edgerton House spend the most hours per week doing homework on average: 50.12. * Among undergrad dorms, McCormick works the hardest with 33.71 hours. * Residents of Next House spend the least amount of time on average, 23.04 hours. * The happiest residence is Baker House.

* On average, students have four close friends.
The following are based on a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 being not stressed at all and 7 being extremely stressed. Courses with the highest levels of stress  (5.3 or 5.4 on the scale) * 4 (architecture)

* 17 (political science)
* 11 (urban studies and planning)
* 22 (nuclear science and engineering)
Courses with the lowest levels of stress  (4 on the scale) * 18 (mathematics)
* 24 (linguistics and philosophy)
* 15 (management)
Some of the most poignant parts of the survey were the comments generated when students were asked to share any stories or thoughts they had about pressure at MIT.Tech editors published some of the 500+ responses: * “I don’t feel good when I’m over-committed and over-worked, but I don’t feel good about myself if I’m not like that.” * “I don’t feel like I’m learning anymore. Instead, I feel like I’m living from p-set to p-set.” * “MIT has done a wonderful job of discouraging competition among peers, but has not done anything about competition with one’s self.” The editors said that themes emerged among the comments: feelings of insecurity, of not fitting in, and of concern about research, to name a few, but that a sense of optimism was present as well. Says the Tech, “Tying together the dozens of stories about how MIT can be hell was the thread of hope; MIT is a shared experience—we are all in this together….You might have a love-hate relationship with the Institute, but you are not alone.” Alumni, add your voices. What advice do you have for stressed-out students? Share this:

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }
Brian Neltner December 12, 2012 at 1:05 am
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Be willing to say, “It’s 2am, and I’m not done with this pset. This pset is not going to be finished, and I am okay with that. If I get a bad grade in my class because of it, so be it. I am here to learn, not get good grades, and if I don’t sleep I won’t learn well.” -------------------------------------------------

Find a way to get enough sleep. It makes everything better.
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REPLY
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Gill Abrams December 17, 2012 at 2:20 pm
That’s so true, Brian – it’s almost all about getting enough sleep. Most students don’t realize how crucial this is. Great post Amy, thanks!
REPLY
Erik Trimble December 12, 2012 at 2:19 am
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As someone who actually dropped out of MIT, partially due to stress, I can say that now, when I look back, I don’t fault the academic environment at all. The vast quantity of work and the rigorous challenges were indeed daunting, but, in my opinion, entirely warranted, and I think it would be a great disservice to MIT students to change the academics. -------------------------------------------------

That said, MIT when I was there (early 90s) was a fundamentally cold place. Students who matriculate are generally the best and brightest from where they come. While most adapt quite well to the concept that they are no longer the top 1% of the class, it comes as much more of a shock to many (and I speak for myself and several of my closer friends there) that not only are they challenged sorely, but there are academics that, for the first time, are beyond their abilities to excel in. That is, many undergraduates are finally faced with their intellectual limits – they simply *can’t* excel at certain things, even if they work hard and apply themselves. For me, it was 8.02 and recognizing that I just can’t really understand E&M physics. Others, it was 14.0[12] and not grokking economics. A couple of others, 18.03 and Diff Eq. -------------------------------------------------

I think the biggest issue I faced, and one which I *know* is still a challenge for MIT, is to be able to reach out to students feeling stress. MIT needs not only world-class stress and social advisers (I don’t like the word “therapist”, but certainly someone with advanced training is required), it needs a culture where students are not only encouraged to ask for help, but are included in an environment where help is *offered* to them, regularly. Many students will never seek out the help they need, even if such help is clearly available (which, at my time at MIT, was NOT well-advertised). Rather, what is needed is advisers, tutors, TAs, and even upperclass students willing to say “You looked stressed. How about we go see so you can get some help reducing it.” Why is it that so many students form self-help groups to work on problem sets, yet none of them think to consider outside help for things NOT of an academic nature? -------------------------------------------------

It’s about creating a culture which doesn’t coddle the workload, but which also helps students recognize their limits and helps them deal with the consequences of those limits. It’s about realizing that we’re NOT Supermen (or Superwomen), even with all our abilities, that asking for help is NOT failure, getting help is a normal part of any human being’s life, and that other people are both able to help and are available to help. Frankly, the average MIT student isn’t the most well-socialized example of humanity, and it is this lack of socialization – and a community which somewhat indifferent to its importance – which frequently leads to the destructive ends that stress overload can have.

Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity & Reform Institutions Stress Questionnaire for Students
SCORES
Never: 0
Rarely: 1
Sometimes: 2
Often: 3
Very Often: 4
Questions
Never Rarely Sometimes Often Very Often
1. I cannot pay attention in class. 2. I do not understand what my teacher teaches.
3. I am not sure if I am able to do well in school.
4. My attendance is poor.
5. I am often late for class.
6. I have too many assignments.
7. I feel there is too much to do with tuition and school
homework.
8. I do not get enough pocket money.
9. I do not have enough money to pay for my basic expenses. 10. My parents control how much money I spend.
11. I have trouble getting along with family members.
12. I have no friends/ I feel lonely. Never Rarely Sometimes Often Very Often 13. I feel insecure because of too much competition in
getting good grades and a good job.
14. I feel I am left with hardly any time for exercise.
15. I have gained/ lost weight.
16. I am tired and sleeping more/less than normal.
17. I feel sad/ depressed.
18. I feel nobody cares for me.
19. I feel have I too much pressure because of my
studies and examinations.
20. I no longer do things once I very much liked to do.
Interpretation of Scores:
0 - 20 : Good control over stress
21 – 40 : Low level of stress
41 – 60 : Medium level of stress: Should reconsider means of coping with stress 61 – 80 : High level of Stress: Needs Counselling

White Paper
Financial Stress: An Everyday
Reality for College Students
Authored by Kate Trombitas
July 2012© 2012 Inceptia
Executive Summary
Recent studies, including those hosted by Inceptia, have shown students, both those enrolled and ones who have recently graduated, are under high levels of stress. A number of factors contribute to student stress, but very prominent are those related to student finances. From day-to-day expenditures, to the cost of tuition, to the repayment of loans; students have new financial obligations they have not experienced in the past. Naturally, stress varies across different demographics such as year in school, school type and major, but a recurring theme of financial stress is an ongoing issue. This stress goes well beyond their wallets and bank accounts and, in turn, has the potential to affect students’ performance in the classroom. In a national survey of college students and recent college graduates, Inceptia explored the impact of financial stress on students. The survey also revealed students have shown to be receptive to financial education. The information found in Inceptia’s survey is critical for financial aid and business offices to use in the development and implementation of their financial education programs.

Key findings:
One third of respondents said financial stressors have had a negative impact on their academic performance or progress.
Seventy-four percent of respondents are working during the academic year, and 15 percent of students are working full-time.
Students who work more than 20 hours per week during the academic year are significantly more likely to report that financial stress has had a negative impact on their academic progress or performance and that they reduced their academic course load due to this stress.© 2012 Inceptia 1 Financial Stress: An Everyday Reality for College Students

Over the last academic year, the media has dedicated a great deal of column inches and broadcast minutes to the impact of student loan indebtedness on recent college graduates. Politicians have also joined the conversation by shining a light on the country’s outstanding student loan debt, which is closing in on $1 trillion (Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 2012), and the country’s unemployment rate of 8.2 percent (Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 2012). Even with all of the recent focus on the financial wellness of college graduates, little discussion has occurred around the impact of financial stress on currently enrolled students and recent college graduates. Responding to this gap, Inceptia recently launched a national survey to explore and document the impact of financial stress on college students. This report outlines what we learned from the respondents. Methodology

In May 2012, an invitation was sent to both snowball and convenient samples of college, university and vocational/technical students nationwide. Student respondents were asked to complete an online survey regarding the sources of financial stress they experience and how these stressors impact their academic progress and performance. The primary goals of the study were to learn about the financial issues that are most stressful for currently enrolled college students and recent graduates and to determine if these stressors are associated with slowed academic progress or negative academic performance. The following charts describe the students who responded to the Inceptia Financial Stress survey. *Recent graduates were within 2 years of earning a degree or credential. Note: Percentages may not equal 100% due to rounding.

Student Respondents by Rank
65%
4%
1st Year Undergraduate
2nd Year Undergraduate
3rd Year Undergraduate
4th Year Undergraduate
5th Year or Higher Undergraduate
Graduate or Professional Student
Recent Graduates*
10%
23%
18% 17%
14%
15%
Student Respondents by Institution Type
65%
4%
2-Year or Technical College
Public 4-Year
Private 4-Year
For-Profit
Graduate/Professional School
19%
36%
35%
8%2 © 2012 Inceptia
Results
The Inceptia Financial Stress survey was designed with the underlying assumption that personal finances are a source of stress for college students and sought to provide an in-depth look at the specific financial stressors impacting degree or credential attainment and academic performance. Identifying Stressors

The survey explored 11 possible sources of stress spanning personal finances, family life, work commitments, academics and time management. According to the data, the top five stressors for currently enrolled college students are:

the need to repay loans;
the cost of education;
borrowing money for college;
the need to find a job after school;
and, the academic challenge of course work.
Not surprisingly, four out of the top five stressors were related to personal finances while only one was related to a non-finance source (the academic challenge of course work). Student Respondents by Rank

65%
4%
1st Year Undergraduate
2nd Year Undergraduate
3rd Year Undergraduate
4th Year Undergraduate
5th Year or Higher Undergraduate
Graduate or Professional Student
Recent Graduates*
10%
23%
18% 17%
14%
15%
Student Respondents by Institution Type
65%
4%
2-Year or Technical College
Public 4-Year
Private 4-Year
For-Profit
Graduate/Professional School
19%
36%
35%
8%
Note: Percentages may not equal 100% due to rounding.© 2012 Inceptia 3 First year students were found to be significantly more stressed than the average student when it came to the Cost of Education (means of 4.09 and 3.74, respectively) and the Cost of Living (means of 3.86 and 3.45, respectively). These students may be experiencing higher stress due to the novelty of managing their money and living away from home for the first time, or it may be due to the awareness of recent tuition increases combined with a slow job market, and perhaps even job loss of family members contributing to these statistical differences within the sample.

Very few differences in mean stress scores were found across class rank for any of the variables, with the exception of fifth year and beyond students who commonly reported statistically higher stress scores than other student ranks. In fact, fifth year and beyond students reported a statistically higher stress score than the average student in five of the eleven stressors measured (Balancing School and Work, Borrowing Money for College, Managing Money, Cost of Living and Finding a Job After College). This trend may reflect the growing anxiety these students experience as they continue to extend their college experience, increase their student loan indebtedness and face meeting aggregate loan limits and a difficult job market. Although the sample of fifth year and beyond students in the study was small, it is worth noting that these students were twice as likely to report being negatively impacted by financial stress when compared to the rest of the students surveyed, with a full 69 percent indicating that financial stress had impeded their academic progress or performance. When exploring the top five stressors by age of respondent, the degree of stress was found to increase significantly for students over the age of 30 for the overall top three stressors (Need to Repay Loans, Cost of Education and Borrowing Money for College), which ranked first, fourth and second, respectively, for this age group. There was no significant difference in mean scores for Finding a Job across age ranges, and the Academic Challenge of Course Work fell out of the top five for students over the age of 30, altogether. The lessening impact of this stressor may be due to competing priorities in the lives of over 30 students, including balancing work, school and family life.

The chart below outlines mean scores and frequencies for each of the overall top five stressors. *5 = Extreme Stress; 4 = High Stress; 3 = Some Stress; 2 = Not Much Stress; 1 = No Stress Stressor Mean Score*

Percentage who ranked
stressor as causing
Extreme or High Stress
Need to Repay Loans 3.83 52%
Cost of Education 3.74 59%
Borrowing Money for College 3.67 49%
Need to Find a Job After School 3.66 54%
Academic Challenge of Courses 3.48 52%Negative Impact on Academic Progress and Performance Overall, one third (34 percent) of respondents said financial stressors have had a negative impact on their academic performance or progress, and another 20 percent report they have had to reduce their course load due to these same stressors.

Borrowing
Since Borrowing Money for College was found to be the top overall stressor for students, we took a closer look at the borrowing behavior of students who reported that financial stressors have had a negative impact on their academic progress or performance, or reported that these stressors had caused them to reduce their course load. Mean scores, which provide an index of the amount of stress felt for Borrowing Money for College, were statistically higher for students who reported that financial stressors had negatively impacted their academic progress or performance compared to those who did not feel this had occurred (means of 4.10 and 3.42, respectively) and for those students who had reduced their course load due to financial stress compared to those who had not (means of 4.19 and 3.53, respectively).

Respondents who reported that financial stressors negatively impacted their academic progress or performance were significantly more likely to have borrowed federal student loans, private student loans and personal loans from friends or family members to help cover the cost of their education. Additionally, respondents who reported that they had reduced their course load due to financial stress were also statistically more likely to have borrowed private student loans, although there was no difference in federal borrowing among these two groups.

4 © 2012 Inceptia
Financial Stress Negatively
Impacted Academic Progress
or Performance
Reduced Course Load Due
to Financial Stress
Yes No Yes No
Mean Stress Score*,
Borrowing Money
for College
4.10 3.42 4.19 3.53
*5 = Extreme Stress; 4 = High Stress; 3 = Some Stress; 2 = Not Much Stress; 1 = No Stress© 2012 Inceptia 5 Working
With consistent tuition increases occurring nationally, as well as an increase in the cost of living, it is reasonable to expect that current college students are working more than ever to help meet the demands of attending a college or university (Scott-Clayton, 2012). We found that 74 percent of respondents are working during the academic year, and 15 percent of students are working full-time. The average student is putting in 21.1 hours of work per week, which is significantly more time than they are spending on academic endeavors outside the classroom (National Survey of Student Engagement, 2011).

These numbers are also troubling given widely accepted research that shows a correlation between working more than 10 hours per week and an increase in negative academic outcomes (Bound, Lovenheim, and Turner, 2010; Stinebrickner and Stinebrickner, 2003). In fact, we found that students who work more than 20 hours per week during the academic year are significantly more likely to report that financial stress has had a negative impact on their academic progress or performance (46 percent) and that they reduced their academic course load due to this stress (49 percent) when compared to those who worked less than 20 hours per week (24 and 27 percent, respectively).6 © 2012 Inceptia

Financial Education
In response to the trends outlined previously, colleges and universities have dedicated more and more resources to the delivery of financial education to their students. In fact, another recent Inceptia study found that 65 percent of institutions of higher education currently have a financial education program in place on their campus. Additionally, of those institutions that do not currently have a program, 43 percent expect their institution to definitely or probably start a program within the next 12 months (Trombitas, 2012). Fifty-six percent of respondents in the Inceptia Financial Stress survey indicated they had completed some type of financial education program. Respondents reported receiving financial education through several forms of delivery, including: attending a seminar on money management (33 percent); participating in an online financial education program (21 percent); attending a seminar on student loans (21 percent); participating in a one-on-one financial counseling (18 percent); and taking a for-credit personal finance course (15 percent). Encouragingly, all forms of financial education received relatively high mean scores from student respondents when rating their helpfulness. These scores are shown in the table below. Type of Financial Education Mean Score*

One-on-one Financial Counseling 4.01
For-credit Personal Finance Course 3.89
Seminar on Money Management 3.71
Seminar on Managing Student Loans 3.59
Online Financial Education 3.35
*5 = Extremely Helpful; 4 = Very Helpful; 3 = Somewhat Helpful; 2 = Not Very Helpful; 1 = Not At All Helpful© 2012 Inceptia 7 Conclusion
It is important to note that the data presented in this report do not necessarily imply causality; rather, they indicate a correlation between behaviors, financial stressors and academic outcomes. With that said, there is a clear link between financial stressors and academic progress and performance, highlighting a need for more research in this area and warranting a critical look at what schools are doing to support the financial success of their students.

Today’s incoming college students are reporting higher levels of poor mental health than ever before (Cooperative Institutional Research, 2010) and financial stress is an emerging issue within this trend. Inceptia encourages institutions of higher education to take a closer look at the impact of financial stress on currently enrolled college students and recent graduates and to dedicate more resources towards supporting the financial success of their students. 8 © 2012 Inceptia

Sources
Bound, John and Sarah Turner, 2006. Cohort Crowding: How Resources Affect Collegiate Attainment. NBER Working Paper No. 12424. National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA. Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 2012. Retrieved from: http://www.bls.gov/cps/ Federal Reserve Bank of New York, May 2012. Retrieved from: http://www.newyorkfed.org/newsevents/news/ research/2012/an120531.html

Cooperative Institutional Research (2011). Higher Education Research Institute Program. Los Angeles, CA: University of California.
National Survey of Student Engagement. (2011). Fostering student engagement campuswide—annual results 2011. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research. Scott-Clayton, J. (2012). What explains trends in labor supply among U.S. undergraduates, 1970-2009? NBER Working Paper No. 1774. National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA. Stinebrickner, R. and T. R. Stinebrickner, 2003. “Working during School and Academic Performance.” Journal of Labor Economics 21 (2), 473-491.

Trombitas, K. (2012). Inceptia Snapshot of Financial Education Programming: How Schools Approach Student Success.
About the Author
Kate Trombitas, Inceptia’s vice president of financial education, previously served as the associate director of The Ohio State University Student Wellness Center, where she founded Scarlet & Gray Financial, a peer-to-peer financial education program. Her expert financial advice for college students was recently featured in the 9th edition of Gardner, Jewler, and Barefoot’s Your College Experience: Strategies for Success and Durband and Britt’s Student Financial Literacy.

Additional Contributors
Carol Ash, director of innovation at Inceptia
Ted Lannan, senior marketing research analyst at Inceptia© 2012 Inceptia 9 The Inception Of A Movement.
Inceptia is dedicated to providing much-needed support to help schools effectively fulfill their new roles and responsibilities. Through comprehensive data analysis, financial education, default prevention and financial aid management, we are confident we can help all students, not just borrowers, become financially responsible adults. We are here to make it possible for more schools to launch brilliant futures. Inceptia offers schools an in-depth Financial Aptitude Assessment to determine the financial health of students and faculty.

For students, Inceptia then develops a customized program which includes Online Financial Education and Financial Education Seminars that help them become financially responsible adults. For higher education professionals, Inceptia offers a Personal Financial Management Certification that helps professionals effectively guide others on personal financial matters.Inceptia.org | 888.529.2028 | twitter.com/@incepti

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