Eye-Opening College Student Stress Statistics

No matter if it is chronic, acute, or episodic – stress can be an impeding factor when it comes to academic success. In other words, stressful events can undermine your chances of receiving the diploma you so desperately want. 

The thing is:

According to a wide array of college student stress statistics, students in the United States are under a lot of pressure. All the challenges, demands, and expectations are piled upon those young shoulders, and the tension can wear down even the strongest. 

Thus, it is imperative that campus presidents and counseling services invest more money and effort in alleviating stress and reducing the number of traumatic experiences for undergraduate and graduate students. 

With that being said, here are the most important statistics to show the rise of stress-related behavior in American students.

Facts and Stats on College Student Stress in the United States (Editor’s pick)

  • 20% of students report going through six or more stressful experiences in the past year.
  • 87% of students have experienced stress during their college years.
  • 45% of college students claim to go through “more than average stress.”
  • 63% of American college students report health-related issues as the main stressor.
  • Only 11% of students in the US sleep well.

College Stress Statistics for 2020

1. 53% of students in the United States neglect their social life because of stress.

As we all know, stress is often the precursor of all sorts of mental health problems, including anxiety and depression. Well, alienation is an early manifestation of depression. 

So, that is why it is worrying that more than half of college students in the US refuse to hang out with friends due to stress. After all, college is supposed to be a fun and according to college student statistics–reduces mortality rates from certain diseases by 15-19%.

2. 45% of college students feel like they experience “more than average” stress.

Admittedly, the process of “measuring” and determining the levels of stress is personal and subjective. In other words, we all have different perceptions of stress and hardships. However, the American College Health Association has conducted a comprehensive survey of stress. And the results show almost half of the students in the United States are going through some kind of turmoil. With 45% of them experiencing “more than average stress,” it is easy to see that the latest college student stress statistics are alarming, to say the least. 

3. 20% of the student body report being stressed six or more times in the past year.

According to a recent survey conducted by scientists at Harvard University, almost a quarter of students have gone through a stressful event in the past 12 months.  In short, almost a quarter of students are battling stress every couple of months or so. This particular study on stress among college students has revealed some highly unsettling information about the mental and psychological health of college students. Needless to say, such a situation can cause setbacks in their academic progress as well as plenty of other mental issues. 

4. 10.3% of students thought about suicide in 2017.

Unfortunately, disrupted mental health in young adults can sometimes lead to fatal consequences. In fact, suicide is the second most common cause of death for college students, right after accidents. In the period between 2008 and 2017, stress levels have grown exponentially. Consequently, 47% more young adults were having thoughts about committing suicide.

The Main Reasons for the Rise of Stress in College Students Statistics

5. 23% of students say exams and college coursework are the biggest sources of stress in their lives.

Once you enroll in a higher education institution, lots of coursework and homework will become the norm. Yet, not all students are capable of dealing with the immense pressure. As a matter of fact, nearly a third have said academic demands are the top stressors when it comes to being a college student. If we add parent expectations to the mix, it is easy to see how stressful college can be. 

6. 24% of students in the United States are stressing about their future and finding a job after graduation.

Even though the US economy is stable and experts are optimistic about the decline of unemployment, college students are worried about entering the job market. According to student stress statistics, a quarter of young adults at universities are concerned about graduation and their future jobs. Students fear not being able to land a job in their respective fields. Alternatively, they worry about not being able to support themselves or their families.

7. 68% of students in four-year colleges in the US live away from home, which triggers stress and trauma.

Separation anxiety is a well-documented phenomenon. After all, we all feel sad and nostalgic when we leave our family and friends behind. Of course, separation causes a spike in stress levels in college students. According to data from the American Association of Community Colleges, more than two-thirds of students move out of town to attend college. And this transition to a new environment can be a stressful experience. On top of the change in surroundings, young adults are going through a sensitive phase of their lives as it is. To clarify, their search for self-identity can cause mental health problems if traumatic events take place around the age of 20-25.

Financial Worries Are One of the Leading Causes of Stress among College Students

8. 60% of college students worry about not having enough money to pay for their studies.

Recently, a national financial wellness study of 18.795 college students from 52 institutions across the US showed that two-thirds of college students stress about not having enough money to pay for their education. Likewise, almost half of students are worried about not being able to cover their monthly expenses. 

9. 70% of students stress about their financial situation.

In a way, we all worry about our financial wellbeing. Even so, it seems younger generations are also heavily affected by stress related to their financial situation. According to statistics on stress in college students, as many as 70% of college students are stressed and concerned about the state of their financial affairs. The study encompassed various profiles of students, including those at two-year and four-year private colleges as well as those at public institutions. 

The bottom line is: 

Seven out of ten under-graduate students experience stress because of their financial situation. 

10. 43% of undergraduate students take up jobs to put themselves through college.

As if demanding college coursework was not stressful enough, plenty of students in the United States have to work to support themselves through college. To be honest, working and going to classes is nothing new, and older generations have also had to balance these two things. However, stress among college students was never as widespread as it is today. On top of that, 27% of students had to work 20 or more hours per week. Clearly, this affects their schedule, reducing the available time for their academic pursuits. 

11. 25% of college students in the United States work full-time jobs while being full-time students.

Due to the rising costs of attending a college or a university, many students are forced to work full-time jobs while being enrolled as full-time students. To be precise, a quarter of them work at least 30 hours per week. On top of that, the majority of grad students (76%) have full-time jobs. And a lot of the mature students have children and families to support. It goes without saying that such a situation has a substantial effect on the rise of college student stress.  

12. 64% of students have turned to loans as a way of financing their studies.

Another element that adds to the overall feeling of stress and anxiety is the fact that more than half of college students are in debt. Needless to say, paying the installments in time causes pressure, harming the academic success of those students. To clarify, students use the money to fund tuition, housing, or even books and learning materials.

Moreover, a lot of students nowadays opt for online courses where they can study material and get tutored at the same time. Wyzant is one of the many online tutoring programs out there. 

13. 32% of students have said that they sometimes neglect their studies because of the money they owe.

The extent to which debt and financial uncertainty cause stress is astonishing. As a matter of fact, the total student loan debt in America is estimated at more than $1.5 trillion! According to data on stress in college students and statistics for 2018, the average student loan debt was estimated to be around $28.600. Of course, many students have much bigger debt than that. For example, those who owe between $100.000 and $150.000 face the highest risk of suffering from stress and anxiety. Thus, it is imperative that the government pay attention to this aspect of attending a college and getting a university degree. As we all know, the cost of going to college has been on the rise for the past thirty years, which affects dramatically the well-being of both parents and students.