APLUS Wave 1: Arizona Pathways to Life Success for University Students (APLUS)

Study Findings and Additional Resources

DID YOU KNOW? Seven out of 10 college students will engage in at least one "risky" financial behavior, such as maxing out credit card limits or not paying bills on time.

Many college graduates will enter young adulthood poised for success. Some may stumble at first, and still others will fall. What sets them on different pathways?

To answer this question, University of Arizona started a landmark longitudinal research study in 2008 to look at the connections between financial success and well-being in a diverse group of first-year college students (Wave 1): Arizona Pathways to Life Success for University Students (APLUS).  And in 2009, at the height of the economic crisis Wave 1.5 examined how young adults develop financial attitudes and behaviors during this economic downturn.  Wave 2 revisits the students as they are entering their senior year.

APLUS WAVE 1: Cultivating Positive Financial Attitudes and Behaviors for Healthy Adulthood

Wave 1 was completed in May 2009; findings highlighted college students’ financial behaviors.

There are three factors that create an effective solution to avoiding financial problems when students start college:

  1. Parental involvement (has the most influence)
  2. Education (formal financial education in high school)
  3. Work experience (part-time job)

Seventy-three percent (73%) reported at least one risky financial behavior within the preceding six months:

  • Not paying bills on time
  • Not making full payments on credit cards
  • Maxing out credit cards
  • Borrowing from credit cards
  • Taking out payday loans

On average, students surveyed received a failing grade (59 percent) when tested on financial literacy.

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