Financial woes hurt educational success

It is no secret college is a time in one’s life filled with a great amount of financial anxiety, but some experts now predict these concerns might be impacting more than just a student’s bank account.

In a recent article published in The New York Times, the National Survey of Student Engagement reported money troubles as being a factor that interferes with the academic performance of most college students.

Although covering day-to-day costs was a primary strain identified by students, nearly one-third of those surveyed also said they regularly skip buying textbooks and other required academic materials to help balance their already-imperfect budgets.

Editorial Board

Andrew Krietz
Katie Harrington
Alex McClung
Samantha Radecki
Omari Sankofa II
Greg Olsen

For this reason, universities should have a more conscious understanding of the impact financial woes can have on a student’s ability to learn, and have more realistic expectations about the extra costs students take on once classes begin.

Although financial concerns are a universal problem students have faced since coming to school, with statistics like this, it forces one to wonder: What role should money play when determining a student’s opportunity to learn?

We all came to college with the same goal of acquiring the necessary skills needed to make our career aspirations a reality.

While covering costs for things such as tuition, housing and course materials are significant payments to take on, we do so with the expected promise that we will not look at these expenditures as a waste.

Overall, the issue of students being forced to sacrifice their academic potential as a result of their financial insecurities should be seen as a wake-up call to universities and legislators.

While it can be argued that some students’ financial woes come as a result of many outside influences, including eating out, going to the bar and shopping, these students probably make up a small minority.

For years, students have struggled with the idea of paying tuition, and many more take on the sole responsibility of paying for their own living expenses and food. While balancing a job on top of classes is a burden many college students accept, often this solution is not enough.

Also, with the cost of tuition already high, and likely to increase each year, requiring students to pay for expensive course materials is an unrealistic expectation and a trend that never should have begun.

Financial concerns never should limit the educational opportunities of college students. When these financial worries start to impose on the ability of students to gain the same amount of knowledge from a course as their peers, it represents a failure in a system we have proved that we trust.

If this trend is ever to reverse itself, it is clear that a greater amount of communication and compassion must exist between students and their universities.

Although financial worries are something we will have to deal with throughout our lives, it seems clear that college should be a time when we learn the necessary skills needed to face these problems, not bury ourselves in debt before graduation.

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