There are plenty of ways for you to get a better understanding of how college will affect your financial situation. Even if you’re able to get a full ride scholarship, you’ll still end up paying for important things like textbooks, daily necessities, and often food and housing. For those that don’t end up with a full ride scholarship, or who aren’t eligible for financial aid at all, college can cut even deeper. A great way to learn is by looking at how much money students have in their bank accounts, and with this recent information from OneClass, you can get the bigger picture.
This study involved 399 students from 82 schools and asked the question, “How much money is in your bank account right now?” This question includes both checking and savings accounts. Overall, the numbers stack up like this:
- 5% responded $0-$50
- 8% responded $51-$500
- 5% responded $501-$1,000
- 3% responded $1,001-$2,000
- 1% responded $2,000-$5,000
- 0% responded $5,001-$10,000
- 8% responded $10,001 or more
The thing is, it’s hard to really get an idea of what those numbers mean. Here are a few simple ways to break that up.
More Than One in Eight Students Have Less Than $50 Right Now
Of all the students who responded, 13.5%, which is more than one in eight, responded that they had between $0 and $50 in their checking and savings accounts. That means overall, these students have barely enough to pay for a dinner date. Of course, there are plenty of reasons that this could be, but it’s extremely important to pay attention to the fact that a shocking number of college students simply don’t have almost any money.
Over a Third of College Students Couldn’t Singlehandedly Cover an Emergency Expense
26.3% of students responded that they had less than $500 in both checking and savings accounts. The Federal Reserve, in its attempt to gauge financial instability, asks how individuals would cover an unexpected $400 emergency expense. That means most of these college students couldn’t cover that expense from a checking or savings account. Though most financial surveys discuss adults in the workforce, students can also experience financial emergencies, making this an important question even for students.
Over Half of College Students Have Less Than $2,000 on Hand
When adding up all categories, 57.1% of respondents said that they had $2,000 or less. Sure, that might sound like a pretty significant amount, but for many college students, it’s only 2-3 months’ worth of bills. In more expensive areas, it’s even less. Because this number includes savings accounts, it also means that these students don’t have the recommended emergency fund of 3-6 months’ worth of bills and regular expenses. That’s a significant blow to financial wellness.
Your Major Might Matter
In terms of rock-solid evidence, it appears as though your major matters when it comes to how much money you have on hand. Mathematics and Business majors most commonly reported having $2,001-$5,000 on hand, while Sciences and Engineering majors most commonly reported $51-$500 and Arts and Education majors most commonly reported $0-$50. But of course, Mathematics and Business are among the most expensive majors; it may be that those who are more financially well-off enter into those majors in the first place.
Third-Year Students Have the Toughest Financial Time
Interestingly enough, first-year students didn’t tend toward having less money than their later counterparts. First-year students were most likely to report having $2,001-$5,000, while second and third were most likely to report having $51-$500. When taking into account the median number, first and second switched place — second-year students with $1,001-$2,000 and first-year students with $501-$1,000 — but third-year students placed even worse, with a median amount of $0-$50.
Of course, there are lots of elements that go into financial wellness. Some of these students may receive “allowances” from their parents, may come from a well-off background, or may have just paid bills right before taking the survey. But nevertheless, these average numbers may make it easier for you to understand where you could place when you enter college. Take into account all of this information when deciding your collegiate future.