SERU Reports

Student Financial Concerns 

This report presents, and summarizes selected findings gathered from the 2016 Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) survey administered at the University of Iowa. Below are some selected highlights:

Findings from the 2016 administration of SERU continue to confirm previous findings that close to 60% of the student body chooses to work while being enrolled at UI (compared to 48% at other universities administering SERU). When examined further, we find that UI students work not only in higher rates but also for more hours (≈3 hours per week) than the comparison institutions.


  • The majority of UI students report that working does assist in the development of communication skills
  • (69%), confidence (67%), leadership (65%), problem solving skills (96%), and time management (75%).
  • While the work undergraduates do is often not related to any academic assignments (68%), students report that working has helped them develop skills that could be useful in the future (60%) and they benefit from the examples and experiences of others (63%).


  • Student responses show that higher levels of concern about finances, across the board, are negatively associated with cumulative GPA.
  • Over half (52%) of students report worrying about their financial situations “often,” which is comparable to the rate reported by students in the benchmark group (55%).
  • 72% of UI students report being “satisfied” with the value of the education they are receiving, a 7-point difference from the comparison group (65%)
  • 60% of UI students report that given the amount of financial aid they receive the cost of attendance is manageable, slightly higher than the comparison group (57%).


To read more, open the pdf document, Student Financial Concerns and Effects of Working (Spring 2017). You can also access the 2015 Student Financial Concerns Report.