Study: How Much Money do Students Have in their Bank Accounts?

cartoon female student running away from piggy banks that are labeled with student expenses such as tuition, text books, etc.

OneClass is an education service that uses technology to help you study more efficiently and improve your grades. In our blog, we intend to provide helpful resources and inform you about important trends and events happening at your school and in the education sector at large.


With the average cost of attendance for private colleges being over $50,000 in 2019, it’s common knowledge that students don’t necessarily have plenty of cash lying around.

Everyone knows that being a student is expensive but how does it really affect their bank accounts?

To figure this out, we surveyed 399 students across 82 schools and asked them a simple question:

“How much money is in your bank account right now?”

We analyzed the results first on an overall basis, then dove a little deeper to look at what the results were specific to students’ majors and years.

Here’s what we found.


*Numbers include amounts in both chequing and savings accounts


How much Money do Students Have in their Bank Accounts Right Now?

a stressed male student looking despairingly at a piggy bank on his desk

Overall insights for all students.

The following findings include all survey data regardless of any factors such as major or year.

Most Students have $51-$500 in their Bank Accounts

pie chart on how much students have in their bank account, done by oneclass

399 student responses over 82 schools.

The majority of students (23% of respondents) reported having $51-$500 in their bank accounts.

This is a very low amount and can definitely be concerning.

However, this low amount can be sensible in certain situations such as if these students’ parents are giving them a weekly or bi-weekly allowance to spend instead of giving them everything all at once.

13.5% of Students have Less than $50 in their Bank Accounts

pie chart on how much students have in their bank account, done by oneclass


399 student responses over 82 schools.

Of course, this could be due to students paying off expenses shortly before taking the survey or simply bad timing.

However, that’s still 54 students out of 399 who reported having less than $50 in their accounts which can be cause for concern since $50 can run out extremely quickly; after a few meals or a night out.

Which College Majors have the Most Money?

empty lecture hall in a university or college with hundreds of empty seats.

There were some interesting student finance insights when diving a little deeper.

The following insights are based on and were found by comparing different majors:

Mathematics Major: Mathematics, Physics, Statistics, Actuarial Science, etc.

Business Major: Accounting, Business Administration, Finance, Marketing, etc.

Engineering Major: Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, etc.

Science Major: Biology, Environmental Science, Nursing, Chemistry, Health Science, etc.

Arts and Education Major: Communications, History, Criminology, English, Film, Political Science, etc.

Mathematics and Business Majors are More Likely to have More Money than Other Majors

graph that shows how much money each college major is most likely to have in their bank account, with mathematics and business majors coming out on top. Study done by OneClass.

Mathematics and Business majors are more likely to have the most amount of money in their accounts while Arts and Education majors were most likely to have the least.

The most common amount that students had in their bank accounts was highest for Mathematics and Business majors at $2001-$5000 compared to Sciences, Engineering, and Arts and Education majors that had $51-$500, $51-$500, and $0-$50, respectively.

Arts and Education majors were reported to have the lowest most common amount.

Mathematics and Business Majors have much Higher Median Amounts in their Bank Accounts Than Other Majors

graph conducted by oneclass that shows median dollar amounts that are in students' bank accounts, by major.

Mathematics majors have the highest median amounts in their bank accounts while Science majors have the lowest.

Of course, looking only at the most common amount is not the only way to find out which majors have more money than others.

Another way is to look at the median amount for each major to exclude outliers.

We found that Mathematics and Business majors had much higher median amounts than other majors when it came to how much money they have in their bank accounts, with Mathematics majors leading the charge at over $10,000.

The results indicate that Mathematics and Business majors keep more in their bank accounts than other majors such as Engineering, Arts and Education, and Sciences which could be partly attributable to their financial nature.

Which Student Year has the Most Money?

graduation cap sitting on a pile of 100 dollar US bills

Insights based on student years.

The following insights are based on and were found by comparing different student years.

First-Year Students are more Likely to have more Money than Upper Year Students

study conducted by oneclass on the most common amount in students' bank accounts based on year.

The most common amounts in bank accounts are highest in first-year students.

First-year students have the highest most common amount in their bank account compared to second and third-year students.

Second-Year Students have the Highest Median Amount in their Bank Accounts

study conducted by oneclass on the median amount in students' bank accounts based on year.

The highest median amount was found among second-years.

When looking at the median amounts, second-year students replace first-year students with the highest amount.

However, third-year students are still the age group that has the lowest amount of money on hand.

This could potentially mean that younger students generally have more cash in their bank accounts compared to older students.


Of course, seeing how much money students have on hand/in their bank account doesn’t tell the whole story of one’s current financial situation.

As mentioned previously, students could have just paid a large expense such as rent or tuition and conversely, they could have just received a student aid (loan or grant) disbursement from the government or their parents.

Or, their parents could be holding onto all of their money and giving it to them in small amounts to mitigate any financial risks.

However, this is still undeniably one method (among many) that contributes to painting a picture of the average student’s finances in terms of how much money they really have on hand and how it differs when considering other factors such as major and year.


Methodology

The “How much Money is in your Bank Account Right Now” study by OneClass is based on survey data collected from 399 college students in North America across 82 different schools. 109 males, 283 females, and 7 respondents who preferred not to state their gender participated in the survey. Students were engaged on social platforms. 81 identified as first-year students, 239 as second-year, and 79 as third-year. This survey was conducted from October 25th, 2019 to November 4, 2019.

Survey: How much money is in your bank account right now?


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