8 Effects Of Financial Stress on Students & Solutions

Do you really want to know the effects of financial stress on students? I’ll let you know but let me share my story with you first.

I had the best result in my department in my year one and I was determined to do even better in the subsequent years.

Unfortunately, during my second year, I got the greatest shock of my life – my benefactor who had promised to sponsor me to my finals had passed out. He took care of all my bills, from tuition to my feeding allowance. So, you can imagine how this news left me frustrated and hopeless. 🙁 

The thoughts of how to shoulder this unexpected burden overwhelmed me every single minute of the day.

I forsook sleep and every other activity that I had engaged in for fun. Food was the last thing on my mind for many nights and slept hungry not because I wasn’t hungry, but there was nothing at all to eat. 

Just when I thought the worse had happened, I was greeted with the news of school-fees increment 😕 . At this point, I knew I needed to take some very rash decisions.

I had to start telling people I was in desperate need of a job and luckily, a friend of mine helped me to secure a part-time job in town with reasonable pay. I opted for the evening shift to enable me to attend lectures during the day.

A few of my lecturers got concerned, but I didn’t care about whatever advice they offered, especially when none was willing to assist financially. I saw myself derailing from my goals, and of course, you can imagine what my result looked like at the end of my year two. My C.G.P.A dropped drastically from a first-class result to a second-class lower result.

I realized I had to plan better for the coming semester.

During the holiday, I got an extra job so I could save enough money before resumption. The thoughts of dropping out of school irresistibly crept into my mind all the time but I paid defiant ears each time. It became almost an impossibility to graduate with a first-class degree as I had desired but thanks to God and the determination to continue pushing.

Well, it might amaze you to know that this is just a tip of the iceberg when compared to what some other students go through to survive in school. 

And just in case you have been/are a victim of financial stress, there is still hope for you as you read further. These eye-opening points will help you to overcome the effects of financial stress such as academic challenges.

This article will also help you to overcome emotional and mental depression in college.

I’ll be outlining some of the effects financial stress can have on students and the way forward.

Some Effects Of Financial Stresses On Students Include:

1. Poor Academic Performance

8 Effects Of Financial Stress On College Students & Solutions
8 Effects Of Financial Stress On College Students & Solutions

You would agree with me that the first step to solving a problem is identifying the problem. Money is a very sensitive topic and one that’s just on everyone’s mind. This is especially true for students who have to sponsor their education themselves.

Constant worries from how to raise funds in order to foot bill(s) might be a sort of distraction. This is also a hindrance to many students’ focus and self-discipline.

If you have ever experienced financial worries – whether it’s about your next rent or your next meal, you know how easily these issues can become the only thing on your mind, no matter how hard you try to push the thoughts aside.

If these thoughts are not properly checked, it becomes very difficult to pay maximum attention to your studies.  Even if you are fortunate enough to secure a part-time job, you might need a lot of zeal to be able to keep up with all the school activities and work at the same time?

For example, it didn’t turn out well as I planned. I skipped classes every now and then, submitted assignments at the last minute, and even missed some tests.

To be sincere, the chances of performing excellently in your academics under this situation are very slim.

2. Emotional Instability

Your general response to life situations, academic pursuit, etc. is largely tied down to how emotionally balanced or unbalanced you are. And if you don’t know how to improve your emotional intelligence, you may really struggle.

Besides, you’ll feel bad seeing that you’re sent out of the class because of an unsettled bill or unpurchased text-book. Wouldn’t you?

And if you’ve got unempathetic friends that will allow you drown in self-pity and frustration, you may end up losing all the drive to keep pushing.

3. Inferiority Complex

Have you ever been mocked by your classmates because of a worn-out uniform, an unpurchased textbook or an overused pair of shoe?

If you have, then you would understand better the feeling of having to bow your head in shame when walking into or out of school. The feeling of being lesser than your mates’ sets in gradually.

The importance of extracurricular activities would mean nothing to you. What worse feeling could happen to anyone?

You would do almost anything to avoid being around your colleagues, let alone having a chat with them.

When the teacher asks a question, you are sure you know it, but for some reasons you can’t explain, you’d rather the silent than speak.

If I must be honest with you, this has been the story of students facing financial stress out there. If the situation is not addressed on time, self-pity and condemnation will emerge.

4. Loneliness/Depression

It may amaze you to know that depression doesn’t end as just a mere feeling, sometimes it leads to suicide.

Victims of loneliness and depression couldn’t just talk to the right person about what they were going through.

My aim is not to justify anyone for falling into depression but frustration from financial stress has a way of making people feel they are as good as being dead. 

As a student, there are ways to get motivated to study when depressed, but when a lasting solution is not in sight, it becomes very difficult to push these thoughts aside.

5. Suicide

You have probably imagined what in the world would justify someone to commit suicide, right?

Suicide doesn’t just happen in a day it does. It starts from the mind.

The day someone insults you bitterly and you run to your closet to cry. The day you start nursing the feeling that everyone else is better than you are.

Then, you just want to keep to yourself to avoid getting hurt again or you just want to end it all by taking your own life.

Read on to find a solution that helps you to stop wasting away and start living your best life.

6. Involvement In Social Vices

The rate at which youths/students engage in terrible acts today is alarming.

The older ones may see this as youthful exuberance or one of the negative impacts of 21st-century technology, however, it goes beyond that.

I have interacted with some students who have expressed how bad they feel after getting into some immoral acts due to financial challenges.

A young lady, at a certain time, confided in me and told me how she had to compromise her standards to get money for her tuition and other basic needs.  

It may have been a wrong decision to make, but when life throws situations and challenges at you, honestly speaking, if you are not careful, you would throw away that moral standards you think you have, without even thinking twice.

In some other cases, students who may not have had enough time to prepare for exams, due to their financial struggles, end up engaging in and facing the consequences of exam malpractice.

Other vices students engage in to survive financially include prostitution, internet fraud, drug trafficking, stealing, cultism etc.

Note: My emphasis is laid strictly on students who are struggling to meet basic NEEDS and not mere WANTS.

7. Medical Instability

A common saying goes and I quote, “Health is wealth” but, unfortunately, the issue of healthy food is one that has been neglected when there’s little or no funds.

For someone who cannot afford to pay his tuition without stress, there are slim chances of being able to afford a healthy and balanced meal. Such a person might end up drinking cassava flakes after staying the whole day on an empty stomach.

Research has shown that foods rich in Vitamin B-12 support healthy brain function and a lack of it, can bring about brain fog. Also, protein deficiency can lead to clinical syndromes such as kwashiorkor, marasmus and anaemia.

If you’ve been the type who doesn’t give a damn about what goes into your stomach, this is an eye-opener for you to care more.

It has been medically proven that extreme starvation and malnutrition can cause the brain to shrink in size which reduces the amount of grey and white matter.

Consequently, this may lead to a confused state, inability to concentrate, forgetfulness, depression, apathy, etc.

It may amaze you to also know that some mental challenges a lot of people suffer are as a result of the reckless choice of food.

You would agree with me that it’s better and wiser to spend a few notes on healthy foods today than to spend thousands of dollars on surgeries in the future. But when there’s a financial challenge, how do you overcome this? Read on.

8. Dropping Out Of School

The more the stress, the more the frustration. If it gets so bad and help isn’t coming forth, you may want to consider deferring your admission for a period of time or dropping out of school.  

Of course, everyone has got their breaking point. In the midst of uncontrollable financial stress, you may see no reasons to have a good GPA.

In most cases, students drop out of school when they are left with no option at all. You would understand better if you’ve had a reason to consider this option.

Initially, it may sound like a fast solution. After all, you wouldn’t have to worry about raising money for tuition, books & you’ll be free from student bills?

However, it’s a short-term solution as you will still have to worry about what to eat, wear and where to stay if you don’t have good financial support.

Solutions to students’ financial stress:

Work smarter by balancing time with benefits

Imagine the feeling of having debts without being able to say, “I know one day, this would pay-off“.

This is absolutely scary but dropping out of school would never keep you from worrying about money.

It might even make you lose access to some student benefits like scholarship funds, work-study opportunities, skill-development seminars, the internet, basic medical services and professional advice from successful personalities who make a difference in people’s lives among others.

Although many factors beyond your control could have led to financial stress, it can be averted if basic principles are put in place or practised.

These principles are shaped by saving, investments, doing business, setting your scale of preference amongst others. So, here are a few things you can do.

1. Search for online Jobs

There are a few online jobs open to college students who have little or no real work experience.

These jobs are usually less stressful and accommodating. With these options, you can aim for your academic goals and also meet your basic needs. You can also start looking for scholarship oppotunities that will pay your tuition and living expenses.

This video below gives some insights into how to position yourself for academic excellence to maximize graduate opportunities.

2. Create a wide difference between WANTS and NEEDS

Go for your needs, especially when you know the struggles involved in getting the money. It is totally fine to get a few things you desire, but only when the money at hand, permits it.

3. Start a business that requires little or no capital

There are businesses you can start with less than $25 (N10, 000)As long as you’re determined to push yourself through school, you can start one.

Within a few months, I can assure you that your customers will start referring you to others and that’s how you become financially independent.

If you have no dime, there are also a few businesses that require no investment.

4. Surround yourself with good friends

I mean friends who would not stop at anything to see you succeed.

If possible, get a reading group for the sole purpose of pushing you to achieve better academic performance.

You may also want to get a few spiritual mentors who would guide you in decision-making.

5. Avoid colleagues who make you feel less of yourself

As much as possible, avoid this kind of people! You already have enough to worry about. You can’t afford to add fake and bitter friends to the list.

If you already exhibit some traits of inferiority-complex due to your past experiences, you would do yourself a great deal of good by seeing a counsellor.

You must understand that your emotion is your internal state of being and it affects every aspect of your life either positively or negatively. It should be guided with utmost care.

6. Saving

Savings can act as emergency funds where you can draw out cash in time of financial emergencies like the current situation you have found yourself in.

Saving money on an extreme budget is an effective tool for financial backup which can be instrumental in averting financial stress.

Money saved can be used for unexpected expenses which may include medical bills, family emergencies or clearing of debts.

Mind you, when you want to start saving, you have to consider your cash inflow. That is, your income as a worker or stipends from your parents.

I will give an easy and practical tip on saving. Now, let’s do daily saving. We have 365 days in a year, but we’ll take out Saturdays and Sundays just for you to relax.

I’ll be using 261 days since we took out Saturdays and Sundays. Remember we have 52 weeks in a year, so taking out 52 Saturday and 52 Sundays gives us 261 days.

Here’s a practical approach to save.

#20*261= #5220
#50*261= #13,050
#100*261= #26,100
#200*261= #52,200
#500*261= #130,500
#1000*261= #261,000

As ludicrous as some of the total amounts might seem, it’s could be worth something. You’re at liberty to pick one of the options you know you can keep up with as “CONSISTENCY IS KEY”. You can also use Piggyvest to automate the process so you don’t have to worry about doing that all the time with your tight schedules.


According to Financial Health Institute, financial stress is a condition that’s as a result of financial events that create anxiety, worry, or a sense of scarcity. This is usually accompanied by a physiological stress response.

Financial stress does not just pop out of nowhere. It is driven into existence and realization by several factors. This article really centres on students with debts or without sponsors. It can also be applied by someone experiencing a job loss, huge medical bills or a shortage in financial income.

To sum up, you need to start imbibing the attitude of saving as a student as it helps prepare you for what’s ahead without becoming too anxious about the future.

Remember, the sooner you apply these tips, the sooner you can start enjoying the benefits associated with it.

Share to everyone you think deserves to read this. Drop your comments too. 😉 

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Post Author: Fuje Akande

Akande Fuje hails from Akoko-Edo L.G.A., Edo State, but currently residing in Delta State. She is presently pursuing her B.Sc. degree at the Federal University Of Petroleum Resources, Effurun. Her passion for writing has driven her into writing poems, inspirational speeches, and short stories, etc She believes a man is a product of what he reads and it's her utmost duty to make a positive impact through her write-ups.

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