Assessing Financial Well-being of Undergraduate University Students during COVID-19 Pandemic

  •  Luai Al-Labadi    
  •  Jinyoung Hur    
  •  Kyuson Lim    
  •  Nitya Srivastava    


The COVID-19 pandemic poses financial challenges for students worldwide, especially for those in higher education where free and universal access is not guaranteed. Students in developed economies, a long-neglected group for pandemic studies, are not exceptions. The motivation of this study is to examine subjective financial well-being of undergraduate students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Accordingly, we conducted a self-administered survey composed of 31 questions that assesses students’ demographic information and impact of COVID-19 on their financial status. The sample includes 655 students enrolled at the University of Toronto Mississauga during the academic year 2020-2021.The survey results show that most students are concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on the ability to meet overall financial obligations or essential needs. Using factor analysis, we further identified relevant matters of subject associated with this concern on subjective financial well-being: 1) concern on tuition costs and financial obligation; and 2) concern on living and traveling costs. The result clearly identifies the associations between university students’ perceptions of financial well-being and its associated matters, and how these relations differ by students’ demographic information. We conclude that educational leadership, local community, and the government should use their judgement to reduce students’ financial distress by offering different types of financial supports with regards to student demographics.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.