UBC Undergraduate Research

UBC Enrolment Services & Financial Wellness Focus : Graduate Students Lam, Paul; Sharma, Tanya; Whittemore, Joey; Wong, Kimberly; Xia, Charlene

Abstract

Enrolment Services, a UBC department providing student support for a variety of administrative needs, is expanding their financial wellness services. This report outlines our recommendations for pursuit of this goal. We focus on graduate students, with primary data coming from 22 current UBC graduate students as well as secondary research. The main challenge addressed is the need to increase financial literacy across UBC students. Currently, Enrolment Services programs are catered toward undergraduate students, with each assigned to an Enrolment Service Professional (ESP), with many graduate students being unaware of their full scope of work and expertise. Our research shows that many graduate students are unaware of financial wellness programs, but were receptive and interested once informed. Interest in learning and attending workshops has been demonstrated, with not a single person surveyed responding that they were uninterested. Additionally, a majority of the graduate students surveyed say that they do not record their earnings or spendings, showing a huge need for financial literacy. With consideration of our research, we have identified three possible options that cover tactics to increase awareness of the financial wellness services, as well as address needs identified by our graduate student survey. The options are to form a dedicated Enrolment Services team focusing on graduate students, or to increase marketing tactics on existing services, or to maintain the status quo by keeping services as is. Through our analysis, we advise that the a dedicated Enrolment Services team focused on graduate students is formed. This will ensure that approximately the graduate students that comprise 18% of the student population whose needs are underserved are appropriately addressed. As the primary data was conducted with a relatively small sample size of 22 students, it is advised that Enrolment Services conduct further investigation to validate the need. We have conducted our research and structured our recommendations keeping UBC Enrolment Services Financial Wellness mission statement in mind: “Support students’ overall success and wellness by providing students with the information, tools, and resources they need to develop financial wellness prior to arriving at UBC, throughout their degree, and after graduation.” We hope to convince you that dedicating time and resources to the financial wellness of graduate students is a worthwhile endeavour and we have attempted to outline what this process may look like. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International