Date of Award

Spring 4-28-2017

Document Type


Primary Advisor

Dr. Christopher Fairchild


College students have acquired a reputation of irresponsibility and impulsivity, which has contributed to the perception that they are poor managers of money. This researcher sought to establish a clearer picture of the full story behind how college students handle their finances through a comprehensive literature review. Several searches were conducted on the topics of college students, finances, money management, debt levels, and other related terms. Scholarly articles were analyzed for common themes and research patterns, and the various strings of research identified were categorized into three main headings: Financial situation, financial influences, and financial consequences. The three major headings of this literature review were organized to best detail the “what”, “why”, and “what next” questions that arise when explaining finances. Students often struggle to make ends meet and afford their education, and many of them suffer from low income, low financial literacy, compulsive spending tendencies, and high debt levels. These can be attributed to items such as demographic factors, social factors, family socio-economic backgrounds, academic influences, psychological factors, personality, and many more. Further research reveals that students suffer from immediate stress-related health concerns as well as a wide range of difficulties in graduation success, career opportunity, and retirement planning because of today’s financial decisions. Understanding these relationships is key to better preparing the next generation for financial success.