Wednesday, December 9, 2015



This research project examines the costly short-term and long-term choices that college students make due to psychological and emotional theories or because of a lack of assistance from universities. College students in the 21st century have a tendency to spend money on things that deepen the financial hole of college debt. The absence of “thrift,” the practice of spending money wisely and frugally, in the minds of college students may be contributing to the matter. By spending thousands of dollars on entertainment annually and by failing to save money when the opportunity presents itself, college students exhibit a necessity for financial literacy courses in universities in order to become thriftier spenders. The project also considers the costs of the directionless student and his/her lack of interest in education, despite its high price tag. By skipping classes, students may diminish their intellectual potential as well as their bank accounts. However, all universities, including Harvard University, have an opportunity to solve the matter by engaging their students in better classes. The research in this essay reveals striking truths about the financial shortcomings of college students and the dependence of college students on their universities to assist them.


Arum, Richard, and Josipa Roksa. Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses. Chicago: U of Chicago, 2011. Print.

Becker, Dana. "Chapter 1." One Nation Under Stress: The Trouble with Stress as an Idea. N.p.: Oxford Scholarship Online, 2013. 14. Print.

"Chegg Reports Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2014 Results." Chegg Inc. -. N.p., 23 Feb. 2015. Web. 31 Oct. 2015. <>.

"CONSUMER EXPENDITURES--2014." U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2015. <>.


Ilgunas, Ken. "I Live in a Van down by Duke University." Saloncom RSS. N.p., 6 Dec. 2009. Web. <>.

Jacobs, Lynn F., and Jeremy S. Hyman. "12 Ways to Get Your Money's Worth out of College." The Secrets of College Success. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2010. N. pag. Print.

Jacobs, Lynn F., and Jeremy S. Hyman. "20 No-Brainers to Save Money at College." The Secrets of College Success. 2nd ed. N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. Print.

Joselow, Maxine. "How College Students Can Waste Less Money." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 8 June 2015. Web. 17 Oct. 2015.

Light, Richard J. Making the Most of College: Students Speak Their Minds. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2001. Print.

"Money Matters." Uberpreneurs (2013): n. pag. EverFi, Higher One, 2015. Web. <>.

Severns, Maggie. "The Student Loan Debt Crisis in 9 Charts." Mother Jones. N.p., 5 June 2013. Web. 31 Oct. 2015.

Shaffer, Leigh S. Live Like the Affluent in College, Live Like a Student After Graduation. Mar. 2012.

Snider, Susannah. "Universities Where the Most Students Brought Cars to Campus." N.p., 21 Apr. 2015. Web. 31 Oct. 2015. <>.

Sparshott, Jeffrey. "Congratulations, Class of 2015. You’re the Most Indebted Ever (For Now)." Real Time Economics RSS. N.p., 8 May 2015. Web. 31 Oct. 2015.

Sumpter, Samantha. "College Students' Spending Habits: Survey Results." Study Breaks Magazine. N.p., 2 July 2014. Web. <>.

Thompson, Derek. "Your Brain on Poverty: Why Poor People Seem to Make Bad Decisions." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 22 Nov. 2013. Web. 12 Oct. 2015.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Literature Review #5

Citation: Light, Richard J. Making the Most of College: Students Speak Their Minds. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2001. Print.

In Making the Most of College: Students Speak Their Minds, author Richard J. Light reveals some college students' surprising answers to common questions and issues of college life. By using college students, Light is able to provide the reader recommendations on how to excel both academically and socially. Particularly useful for my research was chapter 6: "Faculty Who Make a Difference." It was interesting to hear what students found particularly engaging in their professors and classes.

Author: Richard J. Light - Professor in the Graduate School of Education and the John. F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He is coauthor of By Design and Summing Up (both from Harvard) and has won many teaching awards.

One student "was critical of Harvard for having too many large classes. And an even bigger point, he said, was that too few professors who taught large classes engaged their students actively in their classroom activities" (p. 114). 

"...classes are already putting into practice exactly the features that students describe as most valuable for enhancing their engagement with coursework, and their learning, in any subject area. And students love them for it" (p. 80).

"The relationship between the amount of writing for a course and students' level of engagement – whether engagement is measured by time spent on the course, or the intellectual challenge it presents, or students' level of interest in it – is stronger than the relationship between students' engagement and any other course characteristic" (p. 55).
Relation to my topic:
Making the Most of College: Students Speak Their Minds provided me quite a few things for my project. The first is that it gave me an example of a student's dissatisfaction with professors and classes. When I read that even a Harvard student notices the disengagement of college students in his large classes, I realized that this was a perfect example of how colleges can do a better job guaranteeing that students maximize their return on tuition costs. By reorganizing their classes and shuffling the professors around, a college has the ability to create a more interesting and engaging class for its students. The book also provided me more support for my section on the correlation between writing classes and student engagement. Although I already have two sources prodding at this concept, I may incorporate the quote from page 55 for extra evidence if I believe it to be necessary.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Literature Review #4

Citation:Shaffer, Leigh S. Live Like the Affluent in College, Live Like a Student After Graduation. Mar. 2012.

Live Like the Affluent in College, Live Like a Student After Graduation discusses the thinking behind a college student's spending choices. College students appear to be stuck in premature affluence, referring to students whose parents provided for them and allowed them to spend money without discretion, and thus spend the same way in college despite living in different circumstances. The piece defines a number of expenses students unwisely spend money on, including entertainment, cosmetics/fashion, and travel.

Leigh S. Shaffer - Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at West Chester University


"Bachman called their use of spending money affluence because it represented what economists traditionally called discretionary spending— that is, money spent on items beyond their own living expenses such as rent, utilities, groceries, health care, and other necessities. He also referred to their spending habits as premature affluence because many, if not most, of these individuals would not be able to sustain their discretionary expenses after their schooling once they were forced to pay for their own room and board out of their own earnings. It is one thing to have “spending money” and to develop an affluent lifestyle and expensive tastes, but it is quite another to earn enough money to sustain that lifestyle once one is responsible for the costs of living as well."

"Bachman’s graduates seemed to be experiencing what social psychologists call relative deprivation—a sense of resentment based on a belief that one is being deprived of a deserved status or an expected standard of living."

"Academic advisors can work with student affairs professionals to identify reputable resources for work- ing with student debt, particularly when students report being troubled by the consequences of poor choices they have already made...faculty in accounting or finance departments can offer financial literacy programs to their campuses as well."
Relation to my topic:
This article appears almost identical to the argument I've made in my essay. College students, due to psychological or other factors, tend to make unwise spending decisions that could have been prevented with the help of the university and its faculty. The idea of discretionary spending is particularly applicable to the short-term financial choices in my project. Students will spend money on things beyond their means of living, particularly because of the background they come from (premature affluence). I might use this article as extra support for my argument that students spend money in the short-term unwisely and for a variety of reasons.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Literature Review #3

Arum, Richard, and Josipa Roksa. Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses. Chicago: U of Chicago, 2011. Print.

Academically Adrift provides reasonings and statistics for the shortcomings of college students in classes and in their intellectual development. One specific reason is that college students may be stuck in a "directionless drift" in which they struggle deciding which major to pursue and thus either select low-level classes or are disengaged from their classes. The statistics in Arum and Roksa's research are fascinating.

Richard Arum - Professor in the Department of Sociology with a joint appointment in the Steinhardt School of Education at New York University. He is also director of the Education Research Program of the Social Science Research Council and the author of Judging School Discipline: The Crisis of Moral Authority in American Schools.
Josipa Roksa - Assistant professor of sociology at the University of Virginia.

“no statistically significant gains in critical thinking, complex reasoning, and writing skills for at least 45 percent of the students in our study,” (Arum & Roksa 36).

"‘their delay is characterized more by indecision than by motivated reflection, more by confusion than by the pursuit of clear goals, more by ambivalence than by determination,’” (Arum & Roksa 75). 

“half of seniors report that they have not written a paper longer than twenty pages in their last year of college” (Arum & Roksa 37).

“...approximately one-fifth of seniors, as well as freshmen, report coming to class “frequently” unprepared and indicate that their institutions give little emphasis to academic work,” (Arum & Roksa 37).

“their Facebook and Twitter accounts while – or instead of – taking notes in class. Indeed, in a recent study, students reported that they spend on average between 125 (white students) and 131 (African-American students) hours on various activities Monday through Friday, even though the school/work week has only 120 hours,” (Arum & Roksa 97).

Relation to my topic:
The concept of directionless drift offers one example of how college student tend to make poor long-term choices in college that affect their intellectual development. Students should be forgiven for uncertainty about their majors, but they curtail their own learning when they choose light classes and are disengaged in class. The most interesting research applicable to my essay is that "half of seniors report that they have not written a paper longer than twenty pages in their last year of college," even though in Making the Most of College, Richard J. Light finds that the correlation between writing-extensive classes and student engagement “is stronger than the relationship between students’ engagement and any other course characteristic…. Courses with more than twenty pages of final-draft writing per semester draw nearly twice as much time as courses with no formal writing assignments. The more writing required, the more time students commit.” In my essay, this correlation between engagement of students by writing classes and lack of writing accomplishment in college show that college students avoid the challenging writing classes even though they will be more engaged.

Literature Review #2

Yarrow, Andrew L. Thrift: The History of an American Cultural Movement. Massachusetts: U of Massachusetts, 2014. Print.

The book, specifically Ch. 5 "The Philosophy of Thrift," gives background into the mindset of someone who thrifts and lives minimally. The idea of thrift arose in the 1920s during Calvin Coolidge's presidency. WWI had just ended and while Americans tended to spend freely and live extravagantly, President Coolidge preached thrift in order to live within one's means. Thrifting does not mean pinching every penny made; saving all of your money defies the principle of thrift. Thrifting means to spend money where necessary and to save when possible, a strategy that author Andrew L. Yarrow deems "wise-spending."

Andrew L. Yarrow - Former New York Times reporter and U.S. History teacher at American University. Has written a number of books, including Measuring America: How Economic Growth Came to Define American Greatness in the Late Twentieth Century and Forgive Us Our Debts: The Intergenerational Dangers of Fiscal Irresponsibility.

"A broad definition of thrift embraced hard work, saving, and frugality, a call to spend and use resources wisely, an antipathy to waste, a strong belief in self-control, a similarly strong belief in industriousness, a call for generosity, a sense of responsibility to others, and an ethic of conservation, stewardship, or husbandry of resources" (Yarrow 66). 

"Profligacy, extravagancy, waste, debt, inefficiency, sloth, dependence, lack of self-control, the inability or unwillingness to plan for the future, loan sharks and those peddling fly-by-night investments were all seen as dangers to individual and social well-being and thus the enemies of thrift" (Yarrow 67).

"'Thrift is the exercise of the will, the development of stamina, the steadfast refusal to yield to temptation,' Straus wrote. This rigorous self-control was viewed as essential to good character, and even successful democratic self-governance, as President Coolidge declared" (Yarrow 70).

"Wise spending meant seeking value, whether in terms of prices or long-term benefit, buying useful necessities or things that would enhance one's physical, mental, and moral well-being" (Yarrow 70).

Relation to my topic:
The concept of thrift and wise-spending provides me the frame of which college students should live within. College students, with their limited funds and extensive debt, should monitor their spending habits and thrift to some extent. By applying the thrifting concept in my essay, it allows me to introduce the case of Ken Ilgunas, who demonstrated a radical form of thrift by living out of his van during graduate school. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Research Proposal

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


Effective Practices of Financial Education for College Students: Students' Perceptions of Credit Card Use and Financial Responsibility

The Role of Monthly Spending Money in College Student Drinking Behaviors and Their Consequences

How College Students Can Waste Less Money

One Nation Under Stress

How To Suceed in College