While families usually provide significant emotional support to students, many students have family responsibilities that can create or exacerbate financial challenges while in school. Institutions often do not have good data on how many of their students are parents or guardians or financially supporting family members.
- Respondents at 2-year institutions were more likely to report that their institutions work to make tuition more affordable. (Q7)
- More than two-thirds of respondents (70 percent) at 2-year institutions agreed or strongly agreed that their school works to make tuition more affordable, compared to 35 percent of 4-year respondents.
- One common concern of students is that many classes required textbooks that are too expensive. (Q11)
- More than a third of respondents at 2-year institutions (35 percent) – and 57 percent at 4-year institutions – disagreed or strongly disagreed that their school works to make textbooks more affordable.
Q3: My school is aware of the financial challenges I face.*
Q4: The faculty at my school understands my financial situation.*
Q7: To what extent do you agree or disagree that your school makes tuition more affordable?*
Q12: To what extent do you agree or disagree that your school makes required class supplies more affordable?*
Q11: To what extent do you agree or disagree that your school makes textbooks more affordable?*
Q13-18: During my time at school, I have spoken with the following individuals about my financial struggles. (Check all that apply)*
Institutions can intentionally train staff and faculty about the financial realities of their student body. While these efforts should not be intended to make these individuals into financial advisors or professionals, the ability to recognize, empathize with, and direct to appropriate resources are important skills for front line staff and faculty to have in supporting student finances.
Institutions are having discussions with faculty and staff related to reducing some supplemental costs of education. Many colleges are utilizing open educational resources (OER) – textbooks and materials that are openly licensed – to reduce the cost of textbooks for students.24
Kansas State University has saved students $5.5 million in costs since 2013, the University of Minnesota implementation has resulted in $3.5 million in savings since Fall 2015, and The Ohio State University has seen $3 million in savings since 2016. Other institutions have switched to digital platforms created by textbook publishers that include interactive elements but cost less than printed textbooks.25