By Steve Nakata, Administrative Services

CMMP-Cougar-Coin-Logo-100PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University will participate in a national study to gain a better understanding of student financial health and how WSU students compare with others across the nation. Data will help WSU improve services to students.

WSU provided email addresses for a random sample of 5,000 undergraduate student names to the survey administrator, the Center for the Study of Student Life at the Ohio State University. These students will be contacted Monday, Nov. 3, with an invitation to participate. They have until Sunday, Nov. 23, to complete the survey.

During the next few weeks, students will receive reminder emails about filling out the survey.

To encourage participation, WSU Student Financial Services and the Dean of Students Office will provide 20 $25 gift cards and one $100 gift card. The winners will be randomly selected from WSU students who completed the survey. Winners will be contacted in December.

Results used to benefit students

Data collected through the National Student Financial Wellness Study (NSFWS) will show how services can be improved to help students manage spending habits and attitudes, financial management, student loan debt, debt perception, credit card debt and usage patterns, stress level related to finances, employment and academic progress.

Chio Flores, assistant dean of students and director of the Cougar Money Management Program, is excited WSU is among 55 universities nationally to survey its students.

“With our students’ help, I hope to advance the conversation on our campus about financial literacy and learn how we can improve the services we provide through our Cougar Money Management outreach and educational programming.”

Earlier findings tie finances to stress

The NSFWS builds on prior research by the Center for the Study of Student Life. It administered the Ohio Student Financial Wellness Survey in 2010, which surveyed 5,729 students at 19 Ohio postsecondary institutions. Findings indicated that personal finances in general, and student loan debt in particular, cause stress.

While information provided to students in the form of personal financial classes and workshops seemed to improve personal money management habits, these interventions seemed to have no effect on lowering student stress related to their debts.

More information about the survey can be found at http://cssl.osu.edu/national-student-financial-wellness-study/. Questions can be directed to Fran Hermanson, executive director, WSU Office of Institutional Research, fran.hermanson@wsu.edu.