Exploring the impact of financial literacy on stress and student performance in unpaid practicum

The widespread adoption of Work Integrated Learning (WIL) is an increasingly visible component of the tertiary education landscape. However, successes in increasing the participation of diverse student groups challenge assumptions regarding their capacity to participate in WIL, particularly when it is unpaid. This work builds on a previous project which found that WIL participants experienced considerable levels of financial stress due to the intensive unpaid nature of WIL placements; the additional costs incurred; relational stressors; and the financial impacts of lost wages. The financial hardship and stress created or magnified as a consequence of participation can negatively impact practicum performance. Financial hardship and stress can be exacerbated by poor levels of financial literacy and result in increased levels of stress, anxiety, and attrition among student cohorts. This research explores the relationship between financial literacy, financial stress, and practicum performance and will investigate the role that financial literacy education may play in assisting students to manage and mitigate the financial stress associated with unpaid practicum.

Laura de Zwaan (Griffith University)