How Students are Managing Their Finances During the Pandemic


The coronavirus pandemic has shaken up almost everyone’s life. Children were forced out of school, adults were forced out of offices, businesses closed, unemployment skyrocketed, and nearly 200,000 Americans have died. The pandemic has been devastating, and it will have long-lasting effects.

For instance, these last few months have shaped how younger Americans view their finances and future. According to a study from WalletHub, many college students have had to learn, adapt, and adjust amid financial uncertainty, changing how the next generation may feel about their money.

WalletHub’s College Student Financial Survey

WalletHub conducted a survey of college students nationwide, gauging opinion on a wide range of subjects. You can check out the full results here, but there are a few things we found particularly interesting.

First off, two-thirds of students said that the pandemic changed their opinion of their financial future. Roughly the same amount said they think finding a job will be harder now, so it’s likely those results are linked. Not all the data is negative, however. Sixty percent of students said they improved their financial literacy since the pandemic began, and only 15 percent of students said a lack of financial literacy was holding them back.

In addition, more students consider themselves strong savers. Forty percent of students said they learned the most about saving, more than any other topic. More students also replied that they’d give themselves an “A” in personal finance than last year.

Despite the financial hardships facing their generation, college students are fighting back with financial literacy. Many recent graduates struggle with their finances, so it’s encouraging that this generation of students is learning more about their money.

Resources for College Students 

For students looking to begin or expand their financial literacy, there are endless places to learn without spending money.

360 Degrees of Financial Literacy: The American Institute of CPAs launched 360 Degrees of Finacial Literacy to offer free assistance to people of all ages. The site has info specific to different life stages, including a section dedicated to college students. There are few better groups to learn about finances from the nation’s CPAs.

CashCourse: Many college students outside of business majors can struggle to find finance courses that fit their schedule. CashCourse is here to help, with free, personalized lessons on real-life money questions. 1,100 schools partner with CashCourse for education, but any student can access self-learning tools for no cost!

iGrad: iGrad is a money management tool designed to help students stay on top of their finances, pay for school, and find jobs. The platform features a blog filled with budgeting, saving, and spending advice, plus a number of useful tools. Through iGrad you can search for jobs, build a budget, and get your resume reviewed.

Wells Fargo: Wells Fargo has a wide variety of financial resources for both students and their parents. The bank created Hands on Banking, a financial education program with resources in both English and Spanish. In addition, Wells Fargo has an entire collection of resources for college students with explanatory videos and articles.

The Bottom Line

College students are facing unprecedented change and challenges. Upperclassmen are entering an uncertain job market, and underclassmen are evaluating their school and major courses based on an ever-changing landscape. With so many question marks, one of the smartest things for students to do is take advantage of any financial resources they can. These skills, although not taught in many courses, are crucial after graduation!

Read More: Survey: More Than Half of American Millennials Are Financially Struggling Since COVID-19 Started