1. What are the financial difficulties faced by domestic and international undergraduate students studying in UniSA?
2. What are the financial difficulties faced by the domestic and international postgraduate students studying in UniSA?
3. What are the financial difficulties faced by domestic and international research students studying in UniSA?
The 2017 Universities Australia Student Finances Survey shows that some of the students in the University suffer from financial burden along with their studies. The financial burden has a direct impact on their studies and therefore, they need to engage in any full time or part-time employment. However, along with the impact on studies, the financial burden also results in other issues. Even after engaging in employment, the students register scarcity of various things including food and basic necessities. The survey shows that 18,500 students participated to give their valuable insights for the study (Universities Australia, 2018). The results show continuing concern for the challenges that are faced by the students while pursuing their studies. While there is a slight improvement in the overall financial status of the students, the hardships faced by some groups especially the indigenous students and the students from the poorest families are still a source of worry for all the stakeholders. One out of seven domestic students has revealed that they face scarcity for food and other basic needs regularly because the needs are not affordable. Moreover, every 3 out of 5 students worry about their finances. Some of the indigenous students are so worried that they cannot even eat properly and sometimes money is the major factor. Four out of five domestic students work so that financial hardship can be tackled. However, it results in a cost to their studies as they cannot focus on the studies much.
An acute problem is for the ones who are financially independent as they cannot leave their job at any cost. Data shows that the expenditures are almost equal or sometimes more than the income which means no savings in case of job loss. In 2017, 83 per cent of university students were employed whereas it was 53 per cent for international students. 35-45 per cent of students revealed that their work is important only for money and nothing else (Universities Australia, 2018). The worse concern is when students can even afford to eat. The financial support received by different students under post-graduation, graduation and research work is different. Moreover, the support received by international students is more than that of domestic students. Thus, this research proposal aims to investigate the lived experience of the students who are facing financial difficulties at the University. It will focus on various factors including the causes of the hardship, impact on the studies and the opinion of the students. The research is undertaken by considering 2017 Universities Australia Student Finances Survey as the base study. In reference to this study, further research will be conducted.
The rationale for conducting this research is to understand the financial barriers faced by UniSA students. More than 50 per cent of the domestic students have said that their financial situations are a source of worry for them. 53 per cent international and 83 per cent of domestic students are engaged in paid employment (Universities Australia, 2018). Most of the students have said that their work affects their studies. The greatest concern lies with the problem that some students cannot even afford them to eat properly and thus, they eat less. Almost 50 per cent of the international undergraduate students have said that their expenses are more than the income. Undergraduate students receive the least financial support for their studies. The expenses of the undergraduate students in 2017 have decreased from 2006 which means that even after the inflation, the students are spending less. Thus, the students do not have enough money to spend and therefore, their expenses have reduced. Same is the situation of international students that their spending has reduced from 2012 to 2017 (Universities Australia, 2018). It is a clear indication of the dearth of the money that students have. Moreover, it has also been identified that the expenses are majorly living expenses and study-related expenses are less. By considering all these issues, it is the need to understand the financial problems faced by the students. It will help in finding solutions for all these problems.
According to Montalto et al. (2019), accessibility and affordability of higher education have become critical in the current scenario. It is imperative to understand the overall financial wellness of a student and the types of expenses which result in debt. Along with the study-related expenses, a student has many other expenses. The initiative of financial wellness will be helpful in both financial as well as academic wellness of the students. The findings suggest that thoughtful and intentional policies can prove to be helpful and students loans can be utilized towards financial well-being and human capital development in the long term. Further, campus culture that includes developing financial capabilities is also necessary for the success and financial wellness of the students.
Shange (2018), stated in his research work that students from the disadvantaged background face financial difficulties when they move to multi-cultural and a different education institutions environment. Due to their background, the students face enormous financial challenges which adversely impact their educational performance. Thus, students need a strong support structure so that they can face such adversities without affecting their studies. Economic theory is used by the researcher to understand the difficulties faced by the students and the way they overcome the same. Also, ecosystem theory is used to understand the correlation between individual and society s a whole because the financial problem comes under a social issue that affects societies, families and individuals.
Research methodology suggests the overall direction in which the research will move. Different methods and processes including research philosophy, research approach, research design, data collection method, sampling technique, research instrument, data analysis techniques and ethical consideration will be covered (Walliman, 2017).
Research philosophy can be considered as a belief and blueprint for the research work. It works as a cover in which everything related to the research will be covered (Žukauskas, Vveinhardt, & Andriukaitienė, 2018). The major focus is the techniques of data collection and data analysis as both these processes play a significant role in the research work. It aligns the entire research and thus, considered as the foundation of the research. Realism, positivism and interpretivism are the types of research philosophy. In this research, positivism philosophy will be used to study the financial difficulties of the students (Edson, Henning, & Sankaran, 2016). It will also suffice the requirements of our collected data which will be quantitative.
The research approach is selected in line with the research philosophy so that the entire process is in alignment and there is no loophole in the research. However, the research approach is comprehensive and includes more details of the plans and processes. Majorly it studies the two parts which are data collection and data analysis. The popular research approaches are inductive, deductive and abductive (Walliman, 2017). Here deductive approach will fit the requirements of the quantitative data as important information can be inferred from the collected data by applying this research approach. Thus, the information will be taken from general data towards a specific direction.
Research design also focuses on data collection and data analysis techniques and methods. However, it can be considered as more detailed study and it includes the agenda of the approaches and processes which are critical to accumulate various components in one so that the workflow can happen logically. It is a framework which helps in the market research and thus, supportive at the base level (Sekaran & Bougie, 2016). Here, out of the available research designs, descriptive research design will be used as it will prove to be very efficient and effective for the topic.
The popular methods of data collection are primary data collection methods and secondary data collection methods. One more data collection method is a mixed method in which both primary and secondary data collection methods are used according to the need of the topic. In this topic, primary data collection method is most suitable because first-hand data will be gathered from the students of the University regarding the financial barriers that they are facing (Paradis, E., O'Brien, Nimmon, Bandiera, & Martimianakis, 2016). This method is appropriate here because first-hand data will be helpful to understand the exact status of the students and also there will be no manipulation in the data which is the actual need for this topic. This method is more time consuming as compared to the secondary data collection method (Meyers, Gamst, & Guarino, 2016). However, as it fits the need, it will turn out to be effective and efficient. Data will be collected from the students of the University and all the students will be covered under the study.
Research instrument acts as the tool to gather the data. In this research, the survey questionnaire will be used to collect the primary data from the university students. A questionnaire of 10 questions is prepared to gather the data related to the financial problems faced by all the students including under-graduate, post-graduate and research students. The questionnaire will be given through online mode to the target population. The type of data which will be collected can be understood by checking the questions (Sekaran & Bougie, 2016). Data will be collected within 5 days and it will be collected when the literature review will be written in detail so that, the information will be received on time.
This step involves analysing the collected data to understand whether the data fulfil our purpose or not. SPSS data analysis technique will be used here to analyse the data collected through the questionnaire (Edson, Henning, & Sankaran, 2016).
1. Are you engaged in any paid employment?
2. Is your paid employment related to your course or career?
3. Do you work just for money or for learning something that will help in your future work?
4. Do you receive any kind of financial support?
5. Are your expenses more than your income?
6. Does your job negatively impact your studies?
7. Are your living expenses more than study-related expenses?
8. Do you think that any kind of support is required from the University?
9. Is any sort of help needed from the government?
10. Do you think studying in financial stress is worth?
Sampling is the process to select a group of people from the population that acts as the representative of the population (Piccolo, 2016). Thus, it can be considered that the sample includes all the characteristics of the population. Sampling makes it easy to complete the research work because, in case of a large population, it is difficult to reach every person for conducting the research and gathering the data.
Target sample is a group of the people which is selected from the population that exhibits the characteristics of the entire population (Meyers, Gamst, & Guarino, 2016). In this case, the population is University students and the target sample is of 150 students who will participate in the research. It is crucial to target 150 students only because it is very time-consuming and difficult to gather and analyse the data of every student from the university. Though we will not study every student of the population, the selected sample will be a representative of all the students in the population.
The sample will be selected through stratified random sampling method in which the entire population will be first divided into strata and then the random sample will be taken from each stratum (Meyers, Gamst, & Guarino, 2016). It will be helpful to have people from different sub-population and thus none of the population group will be left.
In order to gain access to the sample, email id of some of the students from each stratum will be obtained and the students will be informed that they need to participate in the study. Email id will be received by personally contacting each group i.e. strata (Etikan & Bala, 2017).
In a research work, the study must be conducted ethically without involving into any unethical measure. If unethical measures are adopted then the research work will be of no use as the collected data might not be correct or false data is being provided by the participants. Thus, ethical ways also ensure that the research will prove to be more useful. In this research, it will be ensured that the participants have informed content which means there is no pressure or force on the participants to involve in the study. Once they confirm, then only they will be involved willingly. Further, they will not be harmed in any way during the study that is no physical and mental harm will be there. The participants also fear that their data should not be exposed in front of anyone. It is also unethical to disclose participants’ data in front of any other person.
Therefore, anonymity and confidentiality will be ensured for each participants’ data so that they can complete the survey without fear and risk (Piccolo, 2016). Moreover, before using their data in any other study, their permission will be taken and if they will not give consent, their data will not be used elsewhere. The principle of respect for privacy will be undertaken and therefore, nothing will be made public regarding the personal data of the participants. Furthermore, it will also be ensured that there is no plagiarism in the work and the data is unique. Thus, ethical measures will be taken in every possible manner so that the work is acceptable (Resnik, 2018). No false assertions will be made and only true and correct data will be provided in the study.
Edson, M. C., Henning, P. B., & Sankaran, S. (Eds.). (2016). A guide to systems research: Philosophy, processes and practice (Vol. 10). New York: Springer.
Etikan, I., & Bala, K. (2017). Sampling and sampling methods. Biometrics & Biostatistics International Journal, 5(6), 00149.
Meyers, L. S., Gamst, G., & Guarino, A. J. (2016). Applied multivariate research: Design and interpretation. California: Sage publications.
Montalto, C. P., Phillips, E. L., McDaniel, A., & Baker, A. R. (2019). College student financial wellness: Student loans and beyond. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 40(1), 3-21.
Paradis, E., O'Brien, B., Nimmon, L., Bandiera, G., & Martimianakis, M. A. (2016). Design: selection of data collection methods. Journal of graduate medical education, 8(2), 263-264.
Piccolo, F. L. (2016). Ethics and planning research. Routledge.
Resnik, D. B. (2018). The ethics of research with human subjects: Protecting people, advancing science, promoting trust (Vol. 74). Springer.
Sekaran, U., & Bougie, R. (2016). Research methods for business: A skill building approach. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
Shange, N. S. (2018). Experiences of students facing financial difficulties to access higher Education in the case of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Doctoral dissertation).
Universities Australia. (2018). 2017 Universities Australia Student Finances Survey. Available at https://www.universitiesaustralia.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/180713-2017-UA-Student-Finance-Survey-Report.pdf
Walliman, N. (2017). Research methods: The basics. London: Routledge.
Žukauskas, P., Vveinhardt, J., & Andriukaitienė, R. (2018). Philosophy and paradigm of scientific research. Management Culture and Corporate Social Responsibility, 121.
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