Abstract We used a stratified random sample to examine the spending patterns of a traditional student population at one large residential university in a small Midwestern town. Juniors and seniors spent more than underclassmen on recreation, food, general merchandise, and miscellaneous items. Male students spent more on recreation (40 percent more) while females outspent males on books and school supplies. Off-campus residents spent about twice as much on recreation, as well as more on food and for general merchandise.
Those paying all their college expenses spent more overall and on general merchandise, food, and utilities. Students paying none of their college expenses spent less overall and less on gasoline and total miscellaneous items. Students who worked spent more overall and more in the following areas: general merchandise, food, utilities, and telecommunications. We also examined budget shares. Overall, books and recreation spending tend to be fixed as total spending increases, thereby reducing budget shares for these items.
Women devote larger shares of their budget on general merchandise, while men favor recreation. Students who pay none of their college expenses spend relatively more on recreation and books. Working students devote larger shares of their budget on rent and telecommunications. Non-working students spend relatively more on recreation and books. These results should be interpreted with caution since they represent a case study and do not apply to all university settings. Introduction Spending by college students has been identified as an important component of total consumer spending in the United States.
One marketing firm estimated that “traditional” college students, i. e. , full-time students enrolled in fouryear institutions, who represent about one-third of all students, spent $23 billion in 1995 on essential items such as rent, food, gas, car insurance, tuition, and books. Another $7 billion was spent on nonessentials (Ring 1997). Spending by college students may be very important to local communities because many residential colleges are large relative to the size of their host community.
These colleges are often seen as important players in the local economy through current spending and employment and also as potential catalysts for local economic development (Onear, 2007). Many universities have conducted economic impact studies to measure the overall influence the institution has on the local economy (Bailey et al. , 2007; Beck, 1995; Eliot 1988; Felsenstein, 1996). What is sometimes underplayed is the role of students in determining the overall size and industry mix of the local economy.
Local economic impact studies often use figures for student spending derived from secondary sources such as financial aid office estimates of the dollars needed by students for miscellaneous expenditures during the year. More precise information on the magnitude and pattern of student spending would improve the accuracy of studies of universities’ economic impact. In this paper we analyze the spending behavior of traditional college students, who account for a large portion of the revenues of many local businesses in small towns hosting residential colleges.
Although total spending by a student is often less than that of a local resident, student spending is concentrated in just a few areas, such as entertainment and food and beverage purchases in stores. In addition, many national retailers view traditional college students as a lucrative market since lifetime buying habits are formed in part during a person’s college years. Spending behaviors established in college may continue through two transition phases: single to young married couple, and young married couple to families with small children at home (Wilkes 1995).
Changing personal behaviors and societal trends have contributed to the common perception of college students relying heavily on credit, obtained mostly with credit cards. The average college undergraduate’s credit card debt in 2001 was $2,327 and by 2006 had increased to $2,700 (Young Money, 2007); nearly one-half of all students had four or more credit cards (Hayhoe 2005). These changing attitudes toward the use of credit suggest that today’s college students are likely to spend more than students in the past because spending by today’s students is less constrained by current income and assets.
This paper offers data to assess the accuracy of some perceptions about traditional college student spending and its potential impact on local economic conditions. We provide a descriptive analysis of the size and pattern of spending by college students at a single large university in a Midwestern small-town setting. The analysis focuses on a random sample of undergraduate students (stratified by gender and class level) and their spending behavior in the local area while attending classes.
Spending behavior across demographic categories (e. g., gender, class standing), housing choice (on-campus or off-campus,) and employment are examined. The results provide insights about the magnitude and pattern of student spending that would be helpful to college officials, community leaders, and local business owners in assessing the impacts of this spending on the local economy and local economic development.
Survey Method and Data Many empirical studies of college students’ use of credit cards or attitudes toward money employ so-called “convenience samples”, e. g. , surveys distributed in classrooms, dormitories or cafeterias (Davies and Lea (1995); Xiao et al.(1995); Eastman et al. (1997); Warwick and Mansfield (2000); Roberts and Jones (2001); Kidwell and Turrisi (2003); and Hayhoe et al. (2005)).
These convenience samples are non-random selections from the student population. Students choose classes for specific reasons and, thereby, self-select based on a set of personal and course characteristics. For example, survey answers from students in an introductory-level child development class are likely to be different from students in a senior-level finance course. These samples create problems for interpretation of results and bias inferences about the general student population.
The nature and strength of these biases are typically unknown. Other studies survey a wide range of randomly selected students but obtain low response rates that suggest a potential unknown and unmeasured response bias (Medina et al. (1996); Markovich and DeVaney (1997); Hayhoe et al. (1999); Leach (1999); Hayhoe et al. (2000)). The sample data used for this paper was collected through a telephone survey. Staff members of the Center for Applied Research and Rural Studies (CARRS) at Central Michigan University (CMU) helped to write the survey questions.
The Registrar’s office used all undergraduate students enrolled on the main campus of CMU in the Spring 2005 semester (a population of roughly 18,000) to provide a randomly selected list of students stratified by gender and class standing. We opted for a telephone survey since it assured us of a stratified random sample. Eliot (1988) concluded that responses by students to questions about their spending behavior are not influenced by whether the survey was conducted by telephone or mail. CARRS conducted the survey during one week in March 2005 using interviewers from two undergraduate social science research methods courses.
The use of students to complete the interviews may improve the accuracy of the data as student respondents may be more relaxed and respond more openly to fellow students than older adults. Calls were placed to 2,250 telephone numbers, of which 880 calls were answered and 503 surveys were completed. The overall response rate was 22 percent (503/2250), but 57 percent (503/880) of the students who answered phone calls participated in the survey (see Appendix B for a full survey phone call report). The survey instrument was composed of four parts for four separate research projects.
To reduce the length of the survey and avoid respondent fatigue, two parts of the survey were answered by all respondents while the other two parts, including our questions on spending behavior, were answered by onehalf of the respondents (i. e. , 251). Allowing for coding errors, etc. , our sample was reduced to 247 respondents. We believe this is a high-quality data set because of the stratified random sample selection process and the high participation rate. Most of the demographic proportions required of a stratified random sample are met in the student spending sample of 247 observations.
Table 1 (below) displays the demographic characteristics of our sample and the proportions for the CMU student population. Gender and ethnicity characteristics of the sample closely correspond to the CMU population. The largest discrepancy occurs in residency, as the sample overrepresents on-campus students and under-represents off-campus students, as residency was not one of the target stratifications that were sought in the sampling process. Class proportions vary across the CMU population and the sample data. A clarification is in order.
The Registrar’s office selected students according to the characteristics of gender, ethnicity, and class standing for the Spring 2005 semester, the semester that the survey was conducted. Figures for the CMU population in Table 1 are those reported for the Fall 2005 semester. The only published census of the student population is in the Fall semester; Fall student characteristics vary in a consistent pattern from the Spring semester. There are relatively fewer seniors in the Spring semester as Fall graduation depletes this class and the proportion of freshman increases in the Spring semester since most freshmen haven’t earned enough credits to move into the sophomore class.
The number of freshmen, therefore, remains approximately the same in the Spring semester, while the total student population declines. The survey questions asked for personal information and the student’s typical local spending behavior during the months they spend on campus. Surveyed students were asked about the amount they spent in various categories in Isabella County (where CMU is located) when the university is in session (late August through mid-May).
All the surveyed students were asked the amount they spend during a typical week in retail stores, and how much of that was for groceries. The students were also asked about weekly gasoline and recreation expenditures as well as the amount they typically spend each semester for books and other school supplies. Respondents living off campus, but not at-home with parents, were asked about monthly expenditures for rent, communication services (telephone, local cell phone, cable television and internet access), and other utilities (e. g., natural gas and electric).
Students were given the opportunity to identify up to two additional types of expenditures that they incurred on a regular basis and up to two out-of-the-ordinary expenses that had incurred during the previous semester. Only a small number of respondents reported any spending in response to these questions.  Table 1: Selected Demographic Characteristics of the Student Sample Variable Observations Percent of sample or mean value1 CMU population proportions or mean values2 Gender female 147 60% 57% male.
100 40% 43% Class freshman 57 23% 27% sophomore 45 18% 22% junior 52 21% 20% senior 93 38% 31% Age 247 22 years 21 years Ethnicity white 226 91% 91% Non-white 21 9% 9% Residence on-campus 121 49% 33% off-campus 110 45% 67% W ith parents 15 6% Local in summer 62 26% Have car 205 83% Employed 130 53% Work hours 130 22. 2/week College financing Pay none 42 17% Pay some 77 31% Pay half 30 12% Pay most 38 15% Pay all 59 24% 1: represents the sample characteristics of the Spring 2005 survey 2: represents CMU’s student census in Fall 2005.
Table 2 (below) shows the general categories of spending that were reported and the corresponding average amount spent over a nine-month period for those students that reported any spending in these categories. The last category in this table is for spending identified by the respondent but not classified in the other categories. The most commonly reported miscellaneous spending was for automobile repair and services. Questions were asked about the amount and the timing of spending since some spending tends to occur on a weekly basis (e. g. , groceries and gasoline).
Table 2: Mean Student Spending by Spending Category, 9-months Spending category Observations 9-month mean Percent of total spending Recreation 239 $1,406 23% Stores (includes food) 222 $1,283 19% Food 211 $842 12% Rent 109 $3,228 24% Telecommunications 103 $776 5% 87 $606 4% Books and supplies 239 $724 12% Gasoline 198 $592 8% Miscellaneous 120 $559 5% 8 $2,415 1% 62 $601 3% 1 $315 0% 19 $1,826 2% Hospitals 2 $208 0% Child care 1 $4,610 0% Other nonprofit 9 $353 0% Religious organiz. 13 $587 1% State & local gov’t 9 $725 0% Other miscellaneous 31 $774 2% Total annual spending 247 $5,928 100% Utilities.
Computer services Auto repair Recreation clubs Doctors and dentists Notes: Only respondents reporting positive expenditures were included in the calculation of mean values. Total annual spending does not double-count food expenditures. Weekly and monthly expenditures were converted to figures based on a 9month calendar since most students reside in the local area only during the traditional academic year, i. e. the Fall and Spring semesters. Spending by students residing in the local area on a year-round basis was calculated as if they were 9-month residents to provide consistency in the reported figures.
 A CMU Student Profile Since we take a case study approach, it is appropriate for us to provide a brief description of the CMU student population to aid in the interpretation of the results of our study. CMU is a regional university–one of 15 publicly-assisted universities in the state. In 2005 it attracted students from every county in Michigan as well as 47 other states. Ninety-eight percent of the students are Michigan residents, nine percent are self-identified as African American, Native American, Asian or Hispanic, and 99 percent are U.S. citizens.
The greatest proportion of students (29 percent) resided in the Detroit metropolitan area as high school students. The legal-age for drinking alcoholic beverages in Michigan is 21 years. The typical CMU undergraduate fits the description of a “traditional student” (See Table 1 above. ). Most are full-time students who live either in residence halls on campus (freshman are required to live on-campus) or nearby (i. e. within 5 miles) in off-campus rental housing. Only six percent were identified as living at home with their parents.
Most (74 percent) leave town during the summer months to return to their home town or other areas to find work or internships. Their mean age is 22 years. The gender distribution (57 percent female, 43 percent male) reflects CMU’s academic traditions. CMU graduates more teaching majors annually than all but a handful of other universities in the nation and offers newer programs in health professions which attract a large number of female students. According to sample data, most students (83 percent) have use of a car, and about half are employed for an average of 22 hours per week.
Thirty nine percent pay most or all, 43 percent pay some or about half, and 17 percent pay none of their college expenses. Patterns of Spending An overall description of the sample characteristics is provided in Table 2 (above).  Only students reporting positive expenditures were included in the calculation of mean values. Most students reported spending on recreation, stores, food, books and supplies, and gasoline. Students living on campus were not asked questions about living expenses since rent, utilities and telecommunications expenses are typically aggregated into a one-semester housing charge.
Less than one-half of the respondents reported any spending on rent, utilities, telecommunications, or miscellaneous items. The spending categories with the greatest mean values and widespread reporting of are rent, recreation, and general spending in stores (including food items). About one-half of the students indicated that they had spent funds on a variety of miscellaneous items.
The most frequently cited items were auto repairs, physician and dentist services, and contributions to religious and non-profit organizations. Some categories of miscellaneous spending (i.e. , child care, computers and computer services, and medical care) had large mean expenditures among those reporting any spending for these things. However, few students reported any spending in these categories. Table 2 (above) shows per student spending for all spending categories.
The student sample spends a considerable amount on recreation (about 23 percent of total spending) and most of their spending at stores (about 66 percent) goes for food items. Spending on non-food items, i. e. , general merchandise, is a modest $441 in a none-month period.
In fact, students in the survey spent more on text books ($724) and gasoline ($592) than non-food items in stores ($441). Less than half of students pay for rent, utilities and telecommunications equipment and services, but these expenditures are considerable compared with other items of spending. Recall that about half the students lived in on-campus housing and were not asked questions about expenditures on rent, utilities and telecommunications. However, the overall student profile hides substantial variation in the pattern of spending across groups of students.
Class standing clearly affects spending patterns shown in Table 3 (below). Perhaps first-year students have lower incomes from summer work and different lifestyles than juniors and seniors. Freshmen are required to stay on-campus, and many sophomores choose to stay in dormitories – only 109 of the 247 respondents (44 percent) reported that they paid rent for off-campus housing and of only five of these were freshmen or sophomores. Freshmen and sophomores spend significantly less than juniors and seniors on a variety of items including recreation, food and non-food items from stores, and miscellaneous purchases.
Seniors spend substantially more than underclassmen on recreation (69 percent and 95 percent more than freshmen and sophomores respectively), and they spend more than twice as much on miscellaneous items and general merchandise and food in stores. Some of these spending differences reflect Michigan’s legal drinking age of 21 and off-campus versus on-campus lifestyle choices. Table 3: Mean Student Expenditures by Class Standing, 9-month Figures Spending category Recreation Stores (includes food) Food Rent Telecommunications Utilities Books and supplies Gasoline.
Total miscellaneous Total annual spending Freshmen n $1,079 $733 $512 $5,616 $1,350 $0 $686 $595 $462 $2,892 % 53 35% 47 21% 42 13% 1 3% 1 1% 1 0% 57 24% 34 12% 19 5% 57 101% Sophomores $942 $695 $468 $2,948 $495 $795 $700 $493 $217 $3,017 n % 42 30% 39 20% 34 12% 4 9% 4 1% 3 2% 44 23% 31 12% 23 4% 44 101% Juniors $1,358 $1,313 $908 $2,803 $608 $544 $750 $561 $487 $6,267 n % 52 21% 48 19% 49 13% 31 26% 31 6% 21 3% 53 12% 49 8% 29 4% 53 100% Seniors $1,833 $1,822 $1,114 $3,392 $862 $618 $682 $652 $1,014 $8,910 n % 92 20% 88 19% 86 12% 73 30% 67 7% 63 5% 93 8% 85 7% 36 4% 93 100%.
Notes: Only respondents reporting positive expenditures were included in the calculation of mean values. n is the number of observations. Percent is each category’s percent of total spending. A t-test for difference in mean values was conducted for each figure in the table. Italicized cells denote that the cell’s mean value is different from the grouped mean value of the other three classes and statistically significant at the 5 percent level. Total annual spending does not doublecount food expenditures. Another approach is to compare budget shares, rather than gross spending across categories.
We know from Table 3 (above) that seniors spend, on average, $6,000 more than freshmen. But do seniors apportion their spending across categories in a similar manner as freshman, or do they have different spending priorities? The columns labeled “percent” represent a category’s share of total spending. Budget shares of categories associated with off-campus living clearly increase as students move through class standings since most underclassmen live on-campus. Two categories of spending, recreation and books, exhibit decreasing shares across the freshman-to-senior years.
This suggests that gross spending in these categories increases at a slower rate than total spending across years. This trend may disappear if housing fees for on-campus students were added to their total spending. Previous studies indicate that gender influences college students’ use of credit cards and their spending behavior (Chien and DeVaney (2001); Davies and Lea (1995); Furnham (1996); Hayhoe et al. (1999); Hayhoe et al. (2000); Leach et al. (1999); and Xiao et al. (1995)). We examine gender differences in Table 4 (below). Clearly, male students, on average, spend more than women on recreation.
This differential is substantial both in terms of dollars (i. e. , $1,821 vs. $1,289) and in percentages (i. e. men spend 46 percent more). Women spend more on textbooks and school supplies ($738 vs. $647).  Other categories of spending exhibit no statistically significant differences in behavior across gender at a 95 percent confidence level. Table 4: Mean student expenditures by gender, 9-month Figures Spending category Recreation Stores (includes food) Food Rent Store: non-food Telecommunications Utilities Books and supplies Gasoline Total miscellaneous Total annual spending.
Female $1,289 $1,350 $810 $3,341 $540 $662 $635 $738 $553 183 $5,599 n 147 146 144 58 146 48 58 147 117 60 147 % 23% 24% 14% 24% 10% 4% 4% 13% 8% 1% 101% Male $1,821 $1,234 $858 $3,100 $376 $536 $508 $647 $655 $293 $6,411 n % 100 28% 99 19% 97 13% 51 25% 99 12% 39 3% 47 4% 100 10% 82 8% 43 2% 100 100% t-statistic probability difference value in means 2. 59 0. 53 0. 36 0. 77 1. 29 1. 01 0. 92 2. 16 1. 40 1. 44 1. 39 0. 01 0. 60 0. 72 0. 44 0. 20 0. 31 0. 36 0. 03 0. 16 0. 08 0. 17.
Notes: Only respondents reporting positive expenditures were included in the calculation of mean values.n is the number of observations. Percent is the category’s percent of total spending. Total annual spending does not double-count food expenditures. Stereotyping and studies of student attitudes towards money and credit card use suggest that women are more likely to shop for clothing or personal items and use credit cards to purchase them (Hayhoe et al. (1999);
Hayhoe et al. (2000); Leach (1999)). Our data does not support that contention. A t-test of the difference in means for the category of non-food store spending yielded insignificant results: a t-statistic of 1. 29 with a p-value of 0. 20.
Several factors may explain our conflicting conclusion. One, our stratified random sample could remove response bias inherent in the sampling procedures of the previous studies. Two, if binge shopping is practiced by a very small percentage of students, then it will have little impact on our mean spending figures. Three, since our survey data relies on student responses, binge spenders may under-report spending either to hide their problem behavior or because they do not know how much they are spending. Four, maybe there is some credence to the stereotype of fiscally-conservative Midwesterners.
Five, following stereotypes, it may be that women spend more on clothing and men spend more on video games and equipment. Differences in budget shares across gender simply reflect differences in gross spending: women spend a greater dollar amount and share of their budgets in stores (24 versus 19 percent) while men spend a greater dollar amount and share on recreation (28 versus 23 percent). Lifestyle choices may also affect the level and pattern of spending by traditional college students. Table 5 (below) provides a comparison of mean values for on-campus residents, off-campus residents, and those students living at home with their parents.
On average, students living off-campus, but not with parents, spend about twice as much as on-campus residents on recreation and stores and nearly three times as much in local stores on food items. Although there are few observations for the category, spending by students living at home with parents does differ from both dormitory and other off-campus residents. This group spends more on recreation, stores, food and miscellaneous items than dormitory residents, but these differences are not statistically significant. Students living at home in the local area spend more than the other two groups on gasoline.
On-campus students may spend on gas to intermittently drive home on the weekends while at-home-students are likely to drive to and from campus each day; perhaps multiple times per day. Since this group tends to be underclassmen, the differential between the on-campus and with-parents groups may, in part, measure how much time on-campus students spend away from campus.  On-campus students spend a greater share of their budget on recreation (34 versus 19 percent), stores (29 versus 17 percent) and books (24 versus 7 percent) than off-campus students.
The book share difference is driven by differences in total spending since gross spending on books in nearly identical. Although off-campus students spend twice as much on recreation and stores than on-campus students, their shares of total spending are lower. Table 5: Mean student Expenditures by Place of Residence, 9-month Figures Spending category Recreation Stores (includes food) Food Rent Telecommunications Utilities Books and supplies Gasoline Total miscellaneous Total annual spending oncampus $1,024 $869 $434 no observ. no observ. no observ. $733 $476 $158.
$2,634 n % 121 34% 119 29% 116 14% 0 0% 0 0% 0 0% 120 24% 81 11% 45 2% 137 100% offcampus $2,004 $1,802 $1,263 $3,689 $871 $578 $718 $651 $290 $10,353 n % 110 19% 110 17% 109 12% 110 36% 107 8% 105 5% 107 7% 104 6% 55 1% 110 100% with parents $1,706 $1,103 $748 no observ. no observ. no observ. $700 $864 $175 $4,123 n % 16 41% 16 27% 16 18% 0 0% 0 0% 0 0% 12 13% 14 18% 3 1% 16 100% Notes: Only respondents reporting positive expenditures were included in the calculation of mean values. n is the number of observations. Percent is each category’s percent of total spending.
A t-test for difference in mean values was conducted for each figure in the table. Italicized cells denote that the cell’s mean value is different from the grouped mean value of the other two groups and statistically significant at the 5 percent level. Total annual spending does not double-count food expenditures. Students have different budget constraints from one another. Although the survey did not specifically ask questions about the student’s or parents’ incomes or assets, it did ask whether the student worked and what proportion of college and other living expenses was paid by the students.
Answers to these questions can measure a student’s ability to pay, particularly for those items which represent discretionary expenditures (e. g. recreation spending). Table 6 (below) examines mean values for student spending based on the students’ financial burden for college expenses. Again, recall that those students living on campus were not asked questions about their spending on rent, utilities and telecommunications. Variation in patterns for these three spending categories in this table could be the result of the surveying procedure.
Relatively few of the differentials in spending are significant at the 5 percent level in Table 6; with many of these occurring for the “pay none” and “pay all” categories. Those students who “pay all” have higher overall expenditures than the other groups (when combined) in terms of stores, food, and utilities and overall spending. The “pay all” category is likely composed of students who are financially independent of their parents and are working substantial hours to support themselves. They are also more likely to be non-traditional students having parental responsibilities and different asset levels and lifestyles.
All of these characteristics contribute to a higher overall level of spending. Those who “pay none” spend significantly less on gasoline, total miscellaneous, and overall spending. An examination of sample data suggests that students in the “pay all” and “pay none” categories are substantially different in terms of work behavior and age. Students in the “pay all” category were more likely to work (61 percent of the group) than the “pay none” students (36 percent), and when they did work, they tended to work a greater number of hours: 22. 4 versus 16. 9 hours. In terms of age, the “pay all” group was clearly older.
The “pay all” group had some of the oldest students in the sample (i. e. , the oldest students in this group were 48, 40, 35 and 32), while the “pay none” group had fewer of the oldest students (i. e. , the oldest students in this group were 37, 24, 24 and 23). The mean age of the “pay all” group was 23. 5 years, while that for the “pay none” group was 21. 1 years. These characteristics suggest that more of the “pay all” group would be classified as “non-traditional” students. Budget shares for most categories of spending exhibit no consistent pattern in Table 6 (below).
Two patterns do emerge, however: those students who “pay none” of their college expenses tend to spend a greater proportion of their budget on recreation (29 percent) and books (15 percent) than students in the other categories, even though they spend comparable gross dollar amounts. Total annual spending generally rises as the proportion paid by students rises, with the exception of the pay-half and pay-most categories being reversed. The general trend may arise because both proportion of college expenses paid and total annual spending rise with student work hours and earnings.
Another possibility is that with a higher proportion of college expenses paid by the student, there is less oversight of spending by the parents, with consequent upward pressure on current spending. Table 6: Mean Student Expenditures by Proportion of College Paid by Student, 9-month Figures Spending category pay none n % pay some n % Recreation Stores (includes food) Food Rent Telecommunications Utilities Books and supplies Gasoline Total miscellaneous Total annual spending $1,308 $1,096 $844 $2,866 $569 $572 $642 $462 $261 $4,423 41 29% 37 22% 33 15% 12 19% 11 3% 7 2% 42 15% 33 8% 18 3% 42 100% $1,328 $1,270 $722.
$3,210 $814 $556 $747 $541 $492 $5,268 76 25% 71 22% 68 12% 25 20% 23 5% 20 3% 74 8% 59 14% 35 4% 77 100% pay half n % $1,483 $1,212 $780 $3,293 $503 $456 $688 $675 $346 $6,504 28 21% 28 17% 27 11% 18 30% 17 4% 17 4% 30 11% 26 9% 17 3% 30 100% pay most n % $1,192 $1,052 $885 $3,397 $1,170 $342 $674 $660 $565 $5,461 36 21% 30 15% 29 12% 16 26% 15 8% 13 2% 37 12% 31 10% 20 5% 38 100% pay all n $1,699 $1,584 $1,001 $3,254 $781 $847 $754 $665 $933 $7,953 57 21% 56 19% 54 12% 38 26% 37 6% 30 5% 59 9% 50 7% 30 6% 59 100% Notes: Only respondents reporting positive expenditures were included in the calculation of mean values.
n is the number of observations is in parentheses. Percent is each category’s percent of total spending. A t-test for difference in mean values was conducted for each figure in the table. Italicized cells denote that the cell’s mean value is different from the grouped mean value of the other four groups and statistically significant at the 5 percent level. Total annual spending does not double-count food expenditures. Table 7 (below) reports differences in spending between employed and unemployed students. Those who work spend more overall and in the specific categories of stores, telecommunications, and total miscellaneous spending.
Using a 10 percent level of significance, one additional difference arises: working students spend more on gasoline. To the extent that these students are living off-campus and commute to work via automobile, these spending differences are plausible. % Table 7: Mean Student Expenditures by Employment, 9-month Figures Spending category Recreation Stores (includes food) Food Rent Telecommunications Utilities Books and supplies Gasoline Total miscellaneous Total annual spending employed n $1,465 $1,506 $911 $3,308 $881 $657 $715.