Author Information

Marissa Morganelli


Increasing college costs are contributing to a myriad of deleterious issues for college students. Of the top five stressors experienced by college students, four are related to financial stress (Heckman, Lim, & Montalto, 2014). The financial learning curve associated with managing a budget while striving to meet educational goals (Britt, Mendiola, Schink, Tibbetts, & Jones, 2016) can be overwhelming in the best of circumstances. Yet, a college education, on average, leads to nearly twice as much in annual income. According to the 2005 census, members of the workforce who had completed a bachelor’s degree earned an average salary of $51,206 per year, while workers with only a high school diploma earned an average of $27,915 per year (Joo et al., 2008). But this comes at a cost. Over the 11 year period leading up to 2006, the cost of tuition and fees had risen more rapidly than both average family income and economic inflation (Joo, Durband, & Grable, 2008). Given the ever-increasing cost of a college education, practical considerations may make the completion of a degree impossible, creating the following no-win situation: according to Bousquet (2008) & Britt et al. (2016), in order for a student to be able to pay the average public college tuition fee, he or she must work at least 55 hours per week, but students working more than 20 hours per week are at a greater risk of dropping out of college (Joo et al., 2008).

Note on the Author

Marissa Morganelli is a graduating senior double majoring in Communication Sciences & Disorders and Psychology. Her research was mentored by Dr. Sharon Ramos Goyette (Psychology). Marissa presented this paper at the 2018 New England Undergraduate Sociological Research Conference (NEUSRC) and the 2018 Student Arts & Research Symposium (StARS), both held at Bridgewater State University. After graduation, Marissa hopes to gain employment in a setting that will allow her to further explore her interest in neurological rehabilitation.

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