Press Release
Inceptia Releases Findings of Student Finance, Pandemic Effects Survey

Lincoln, Neb. (March 8, 2021) – Inceptia, a nonprofit illuminating a path toward financial success for students and families through higher education, releases the second publication in an ongoing research project regarding college students’ financial behaviors, The State of Student Finances 2021: Multiyear Comparisons and Pandemic Effects.


With over 65,000 college student surveys completed across a nearly three-year time span, this research is a continuation of the original 2018 study, tracking how behaviors have shifted over time. The assessment also provides fascinating insight regarding the rapid shift in behaviors with the arrival of COVID-19 in early 2020.


“We have been conducting this survey since 2016, so we had a great baseline of student financial behaviors leading up to 2020,” says Carissa Uhlman, vice president of student success. “That allowed us to be in a very unique position to see how the effects of the pandemic were playing out in real time as compared to previous years. As you would expect, the 2020 survey results from March through December diverge significantly from prior year trends.”


Among those divergent trends are an increase in positive financial behaviors in the categories of saving, planning, and protecting, including:

  • A 10% increase in those with fully-funded emergency savings
  • A 12% jump in obtaining credit reports
  • A six percent increase in calculating retirement needs


“Across the board, we either saw surprisingly little change, or very rapid shifts – there was not a lot of in between,” says Uhlman. “Clearly, students have chosen to take action in these times of uncertainty, whether out of necessity or otherwise.”


Request your download of The State of Student Finances 2021: Multiyear Comparisons and Pandemic Effects research brief from Inceptia.


Inceptia, a division of National Student Loan Program (NSLP), is a nonprofit organization committed to offering effective and uncomplicated solutions in verification, financial aid management, financial education, and repayment wellness. For more than 35 years, Inceptia and NSLP have helped millions of students achieve their higher education dreams at schools nationwide. Our mission is to support schools in helping students learn how to pay for college, navigate financial aid, borrow wisely, and resolve their student loan repayment challenges. Our solutions are designed to support student success by helping financial aid administrators maximize resources, so they can spend more time focusing on students.