23 Eye-Opening College Student Stress Statistics for 2021

According to recent college student stress statistics, students in the US are under a lot of pressure. Challenges, demands, and expectations pile up, threatening to impede academic success. No matter if it’s chronic, acute, or episodic, stress can quickly undermine the chances of receiving a diploma and influence other aspects of life.

Below, you can find the most important information that shows the increase of stress-related behavior in American students and its causes and impact on academic performance.

Facts and Stats on College Student Stress — Editor’s Choice

  • 44.9% of college students experience “more than average” levels of stress
  • One year after the coronavirus outbreak, four out of five students are still stressed out
  • With 65%, video chats are the primary tool for students to cope with stress
  • 31% of students say exams and midterms are the most significant sources of stress
  • 30.5% of college students claim intimate relationships cause them a lot of stress
  • 70% of students stress about their financial situation
  • 50% of students wake up in the middle of the night to check their phones

General Stress in College Students Statistics

1. 53% of US students neglect their social life because of stress.

(NYU)

More than half of college students in the US refuse to hang out with friends due to stress, which can impact their overall well-being. Moreover, adverse physical effects of stress include immune system suppression that can increase proneness to illnesses and psychological conditions such as anxiety and depression.

2. 44.9% of college students feel like they experience “more than average” stress levels.

(ACHA)

College students’ stress statistics from the American College Health Association study show that almost half of the students in the US are going through some kind of turmoil. Moreover, 34.3 experience the average level of stress, while 12.7 experience tremendous stress.

College Student Stress Statistics - Overall Level of Stress Experienced by College Students

3. 20% of students reported being stressed six or more times in the past year.

(Harvard Medical School)

Recent college students and stress statistics reveal that almost a quarter of students have gone through a stressful event in the past 12 months. Such a situation can cause setbacks in their academic progress and plenty of other mental issues.

4. 36.5% of students claim stress is the biggest reason for poor academic performance.

(Guide2Research)

Students usually feel pressure to get good grades. Unfortunately, this often affects their ability to focus during lectures or studying, ultimately leading to poor academic performance. Moreover, 29.5% listed anxiety as the main reason their academic performance suffered negatively.

Student Stress Statistics — COVID-19 Facts & Figures

5. 85% of college students experienced increased stress and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

(Timely)

Even more worrying is that, although 75% of students are willing to use telehealth to receive mental health care, only 21% have sought professional support via this technology and talked to a health professional or licensed counselor.

6. One year after the coronavirus outbreak, 4 in 5 students are still stressed.

(Timely)

One year after its onset, COVID-19 still stresses students out. With 75%, the main stressor is the impact on the quality of their education. Additionally, 56% worry about the uncertainty of life once the new normal is established.

The main college stress driver for 50% of college students is the isolation from friends and family, and 45% are missing campus life. Finally, 40% stress about online learning.

7. As of 2020, 87% of young adults aged 18–23 say education is a significant stress source.

College Student Stress Statistics Causes of Stress Among Young Students Aged 18-23

(APA)

The pandemic caused many changes in students’ lives, including transitioning to online learning and closing campuses. As a result, stress levels in college students elevated due to the pandemic, with students aged 18–23 being stressed the most.

Moreover, 82% say uncertainty about what the 2020–2021 school year will be like causes them stress, while 67% say the pandemic makes planning for their future feel impossible.

8. With 65%, video chats are the primary tool for students to cope with stress.

(Timely)

Most students video chat with friends and family to overcome stress, whereas 52% resort to phone calls. Additionally, 40% report watching TV/movies, and 38% have in-person time with friends. A slightly smaller portion (34%) play video games to relieve stress.

9. Due to increased stress, 48% of students stopped drinking alcohol during COVID-19.

(College Pulse)

The increased college student stress during the pandemic has resulted in decreased use of cannabis and alcohol. According to recent statistics, 62% of college students reduced or cut alcohol consumption.

Furthermore, 84% reported using less or no cannabis. On the other hand, 39% of students said they spent more time cooking, and 19% reported working out more.

10. College student stress statistics show that 82% of college students are stressed out about the uncertainty of the 2020–2021 school year.

(APA)

The pandemic changed the outlook for the future and brought many uncertainties as to what the new normal will be. So, it’s not a surprise that the primary stressor for 8 in 10 students was the uncertainty about what the school year would bring. Stats further reveal that 2 in 3 students say that the pandemic makes it challenging to plan their future.

11. Statistics on stress in college students reveal that 77% of students haven’t used any support offered by the college to deal with stress.

(College Pulse)

Recent survey results reveal that over three-quarters of students experiencing increased stress levels haven’t sought support from their college (telehealth, support groups, or counseling). Instead, students are more likely to find emotional support in friends (64%), parents (45%), and their partners (30%).

Common Sources of Negative Stress Among College Students

12. 31% of students say exams and midterms are the most significant sources of stress.

(Guide2Research)

After enrolling in a college, a lot of coursework and homework becomes the norm. Yet, not all students are capable of dealing with immense pressure.

As a matter of fact, almost a third say academic demands are the top stressors for a college student. Moreover, classes and workload are the third major source of stress with 23%, while homework places fourth with 13%.

College Student Stress Statistics - Top Sources of College Student Stress

13. 24% of students in the United States stress about their future and finding a job after graduation.

(Guide2Research)

According to stress in college students statistics, almost a quarter of young adults at universities fear not being able to land a job in their respective fields.

Even though the US economy is stable and experts are optimistic about the decline of unemployment, college students are worried about entering the job market. Alternatively, they are concerned about not managing to support themselves or their families.

14. College student stress statistics indicate that 69% of first-year students feel severe forms of homesickness.

(Guide2Research)

Separation from their loved ones causes a spike in stress levels. According to recent data, about 30% of US college students feel homesick. This issue is greater for first-year students, with more than two thirds of them reporting severe forms of homesickness.

15. 30.5% of college students claim intimate relationships cause them a lot of stress.

(ACHA)

It comes as no surprise that college students and stress are related. When emotionally involved in a relationship, breakups can be a highly traumatic experience and can even take a toll on one’s mental health.

Recent statistics reveal that almost one-third of students in the US find it challenging to balance their studies with their relationships. Other social relationships cause them stress to a slightly lesser degree — 27.8%.

Financial-Related Causes of Stress in College Students

16. 60% of college students worry about not having enough money to pay for their studies.

(Guide2Research, OSU.EDU)

Recently, a national financial wellness study conducted on 18,795 college students from 52 institutions across the US showed that almost two-thirds of college students stressed about not having enough money to pay for their education. Likewise, nearly half of the students were worried about not being able to cover their monthly expenses.

College Student Stress Statistics - Finance-Related College Student Stress Causes

17. 70% of students stress about their financial situation.

(Guide2Research)

It seems that younger generations are also heavily affected by stress related to their financial situation. According to statistics on stress in college students, more than a third of college students are stressed and concerned about their financial affairs.

The study encompassed various profiles of students, including those at two-year and four-year private colleges and public institutions.

18. 43% of undergraduate students take up jobs to put themselves through college.

(Guide2Research)

As if demanding college coursework weren’t stressful enough, plenty of students in the US have to work to support themselves through college.

On top of that, stress among college students statistics indicates that 27% of students have to work 20 or more hours per week. This affects their schedule, reducing the available time for their academic pursuits and increasing their stress levels.

19. 64% of students turn to loans as a way of financing their studies.

(Guide2Research)

Another element that adds to the overall feeling of stress and anxiety is that more than half of college students are in debt. Paying the installments in time causes stress among college students, harming their academic success. Students need the money to fund tuition, housing, and even books and learning materials.

20. About 32% of students neglect their studies because of the money they owe.

(Guide2Research)

The extent to which debt and financial uncertainty cause stress is astonishing. Currently, the total student loan debt in America is estimated at more than $1.5 trillion, while the average student loan debt was estimated to be around $28,600. Moreover, 33% of US college students with loans owe less than $10,000, while 20% owe more than $30,000.

Health-Related Causes of College Stress Statistics

21. Almost 30% of students reported that physical ailments affected their grades.

(ACHA)

It can be hard to study and keep up with coursework when you are feeling under the weather. The range of diseases affecting students includes fever, bronchitis, and even allergies. According to recent data, these issues have caused a considerable rise in stress among college students.

22. 50% of students wake up in the middle of the night to check their phones.

(Fortune)

Smartphones are an integral element of their social interactions. Recent data revealed that half of the students aged 18–24 wake up during the night to send text messages. Of course, such actions affect their sleeping patterns, which causes stress and depression.

23. 40% of college students in the US report feeling well rested for only two days a week.

(Healthy Sleep)

The results of a recent study on stress among college students reveal that less than half of students take enough rest, and they claim to be well-rested for only two days a week. In fact, only 11% of students sleep well at night. This stress-related burnout can have a tremendous impact on their academic performance.

Student Stress Statistics — The Impact of Excessive Stress

Known as our “fight or flight” response, stress is an instinctive reaction that can be either positive or negative. When it comes to the positive aspects of stress in college, students can improve their productivity when they’re under pressure. Nonetheless, the negative aspects of stress often outweigh the positive ones.

Various symptoms can appear due to being under prolonged exposure to stressful situations, including hypertension, headache, or lack of concentration. Excessive stress can impact students’ mental health and even lead to suicidal thoughts. Therefore, it’s essential to recognize the most significant stressors, develop proper coping mechanisms to deal with anxiety and stress, and ask for help if needed.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)