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Research Methodology Essay

995 words - 4 pages

Articles & Analysis

College Student Spending Behavior

By all accounts, the cost of college has risen dramatically in the past 15 years. Prices for tuition, fees, and books have risen by 5 to 10% (and sometimes more) annually for years. Prices of colleges vary, depending on the type of school a student attends (private/public, two year, four year). According to the College Board, students can expect to pay between $231 and $1,114 more in tuition and fees this year, on average, than last year. The average cost for college tuition, room, board and other expenses ranges from: $10,367 for a two-year community college to $17,740 for a public four year college to $26,070 for a private four ...view middle of the document...

Different studies report that students have between $600 and $1,100 a month in discretionary spending. The following table shows our estimate of the typical full-time, four-year public college student’s spending behavior:

© 2004 O’Donnell & Associates, LLC

Page 2

College Student Spending Behavior

Annual Student Spending



$749 $786 $1,643 $4,081

$15,000 $5,582 $10,000




Discretionary Other expenses

1 Room/board Books & supplies

Tuition and fees Transportation

(Sources: Chronicle of Higher Education, Almanac, 2003-4;; Student Advantage) Nearly 40% of their spending is on discretionary items. Many sources state that college students spend over $20 billion annually. The vast majority of college students have a job, a cell-phone and a computer. By most accounts, they spend more money online than any other demographic group in our country. Overall, today's students have money to spend on products that appeal to them. Why do students have more discretionary spending than ever? Much of this can be explained by the changing demographics of today’s students. Less than half (43%) of college students are 18-21 © 2004 O’Donnell & Associates, LLC Page 3

College Student Spending Behavior years old. The typical college student is in her mid-twenties (57% are women), either lives at home or on campus, and has a job. Students don’t feel the need to complete college in 4 consecutive years, and many fluctuate between full-time and part-time study over a period of 5 to 7 years. Changing majors often adds a year, or even more to the course of study. And, most students don’t settle into their majors in their first year of school. Students and faculty often complain about the cost of textbooks and educational materials. In the past decade, as the cost of books has risen, increasing numbers of students have chosen NOT to buy a textbook for a class. Recently, we have seen a surge in...

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