Three essays examining collegiate financial wellness

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This dissertation consists of three essays that examine college student financial wellness using the 2017 Study of Collegiate Financial Wellness (SCFW). The SCFW is a unique data set that includes indicators of self-reported financial management behaviors, stress due to personal finance issues, financial self-efficacy, financial socialization, financial knowledge, and financial education among college students. Conducted online, this survey was administered to undergraduate students at 90 U.S. institutions represented by two-year and four-year public and private colleges and universities during the 2017 spring semester.

The first essay analyzes the characteristics of U.S. college students with higher levels of financial literacy using human capital as the motivating theory. Results from an ordered probit regression show that taking a one-time personal finance course before and during college, taking a reoccurring personal finance class before college, being a business major, having a GPA of 3.00 or above, being enrolled for three years or more, being enrolled part-time, being older, being male, and being white, each is associated with having higher levels of financial literacy, all else equal.

The second essay explores college student financial stress as it relates to financial socialization using financial socialization as the motivating theory. Results from a probit regression show that having financial socialization, having parental encouragement pertaining to personal financial management, having higher a financial literacy score, being male, being older, and being Asian American are each associated with lower financial stress in college students, all else equal.

The third essay investigates the relationship between college students’ financial management behavior and their financial self-efficacy using self-efficacy as the motivating theory. Results from probit regressions show that having financial self-efficacy, receiving advice from financial aid counselors, receiving advice from a peer financial counselor, receiving advice from a financial advisor, having a higher financial literacy score, and being female, each is associated with having positive financial management behaviors, all else equal.

Collegiate Financial Wellness, Financial Literacy, Financial Education