System Business Officers

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  • 1.  SFWS Results

    Posted 12-20-2021 09:00 AM

    I'm happy to share with you the Fall 2020 Student Financial Wellness Survey results which are available fully here


    The SFWS was administered in the fall of 2020, as students were beginning their first full year in the shadow of the pandemic. Trellis added survey questions related to students' experiences during the pandemic, which provided insights into the economic disruptions students faced, their access to appropriate technology, and the mental toll experienced by students. The core of our survey has remained the same, but within the context of the pandemic they provide sobering metrics:


    • Paying for college
    • Student debt and use of various forms credit
    • Higher education financial decision-making factors
    • Financial behaviors
    • Student financial security
    • Basic needs security


    Survey Basics


    • The survey included 391,740 students from 62 colleges across 13 states.
    • Trellis received 37,936 responses making for our highest response rate yet – 9.7%.
    • To minimize response bias, Trellis weighted the results to reflect to total enrollment of the participating colleges.
    • The survey took students an average of 15 minutes to take.


    Key Findings 


    • Paying one's way through college without help from family, grant programs, or credit is extremely rareAs prevalent as self-help is, only two percent of students at four-year institutions and six percent at two-year institutions relied solely on personal savings and current employment to pay for college.
    • First-generation students have precarious finances: First-generation students are far more likely to have trouble getting $500 in an emergency (68 percent)
    • Students rely on family support, but during the COVID-19 pandemic most saw financial setbacks: Fifty-eight percent of two-year respondents and 57 percent of four-year respondents indicated that their family's financial situation had worsened since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. Fifty-seven percent of two-year respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they had more of an obligation, compared to 51 percent of respondents at four-year institutions.
    • The pandemic added to students' levels of stress, anxiety, and depression: At two-year institutions, 84 percent of respondents reported that the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak added to [their] levels of stress, anxiety, or depression. This was slightly higher at four-year institutions, where nearly nine in ten (88 percent) indicated their mental health had been negatively affected by the pandemic.
    • Students, especially those at community colleges, feel obliged to financially support their family: More than half of two-year respondents agreed or strongly agreed that it is important that they support their family, compared to 41 percent of respondents at four-year institution
    • Students who had children had added struggles: Respondents who provided financial support for children tended to experience more hardships compared to those who were not financially supporting children
    • Few students are totally confident making financial decisions: A small percentage of students-eight percent for four-year students and seven percent for students at two-year institutions-are totally confident in their financial decision making, while about 20 percent of students were mostly confident.
    • Student borrowers lack confidence in being able to pay off their loans: Three-quarters of respondents that borrowed at four-year institutions (75 percent) and 72 percent at two-year institutions were not at all confident or only somewhat confident that they would be able to pay off the debt acquired while they were a student


    Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks!