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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Online survey to look at freshman spending

    The UA launches an online survey today meant to uncover the financial behaviors of freshmen and give university officials insight into how to help curb risky habits.

    The Arizona Pathways to Life Success for University Students survey targets freshmen because the first year is a transitional period that carries lots of new and potentially dangerous decisions, said Soyeon Shim, director of the UA’s John and Doris Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences.

    “”It’s a really good time for us to look at what attributes (lend) to their academic success, stress and physical well-being,”” Shim said. “”We’ll use the data as a baseline – where are we, and where do we go from here?””

    The 15-minute survey, nicknamed APLUS, is available online until spring break at The first 1,000 participants get $10 printable UofA Bookstore gift certificates, and the next 1,000 will receive $5.

    Every participant is entered in a drawing for iPhones, iPod touches and a basketball signed by this year’s UA men’s basketball team.

    “”It’s definitely worth it, not just for compensation, but for the student-community effort,”” Shim said.

    The goal is to survey 2,000 to 3,000 students, about 40 to 50 percent of the freshman class, with the idea of obtaining as accurate of data as possible, she said.

    “”It’s the first of its kind in the nation,”” Shim said of the survey. “”We’re really looking into not just the financial issues but the broader impact on students.””

    APLUS consists of questions about what values students learn at home, what relevant classes and work experience they’ve had, how far they plan into the future, and insight into current financial behavior, including credit card usage.

    “”We want to know how some things in their background they’re bringing to campus,”” Shim said.

    She said this is a benchmark study and hopes to continue to analyze students’ financial behaviors changing over time.

    “”Data doesn’t tell the whole story,”” Shim said. “”We want to know where UA students stand with credit cards.””

    Without parental guidance, a lot of students can fall into having multiple credit cards, high interest rates creeping up on them and no clue how it impacts them later in life, she said.

    Shim’s team is working with the Office of Financial Aid and Credit-Wise Cats to provide them data on how freshmen are financing their education.

    “”What they learn today will last a long time,”” she said. “”It’s important to develop how to deal with it now, not later. I feel we have a lot more education to do.””

    Pre-pharmacy freshman Ghislaine Diebo said the survey sounds like a “”good thing.””

    She said she gets a lot of surveys sent to her via e-mail, and she only takes them if the subject line looks interesting.

    “”I’d like to participate,”” Diebo said. “”I mean, it’s $10 and I’m a UA student.””

    Physiology freshman Eftikhar Akam said she doesn’t plan on taking the survey because she thinks it’s a waste of her time.

    “”If it affected me, I’d do it,”” she said. “”What can you get from the bookstore for $10, anyway?””

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