Money Management 101: College Students, Twitter, and Personal Finance

A Q&A with a UCIPT Postdoctoral Researcher

Is there a relationship between student credit scores and Twitter activity?  

I am not aware of any studies that have examined student credit scores and Twitter activity. However, a recent study reported that Twitter activity (sentiment analysis) was able to predict the general trend of the stock market. The authors found an accuracy of 86.7% in predicting the daily up and down changes in the closing values of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. It would be interesting to expand this area of research to examine the relationship between credit scores and Twitter.

Is there data available on student debt load and stress exhibited on Twitter? If not, what steps would you take to collect that information?

There are currently no data available on student debt load and stress exhibited on Twitter, although I’m sure some students express their feelings about these topics on social media platforms. There are several popular hashtags related to student loans (e.g., #studentloan, #studentdebt). It would be interesting to see if tweets about students’ loans reflect their actual student debt.

Are there resources on Twitter that teach students how to responsibly manage their finances?

Yes, there are financial resources to help students. Some of the resources that I’ve found to be most helpful are: @StudentInfoYork, @tribalgroup, and @moneymanagement.

How do students in for-profit higher educational institutions versus non-profit universities exhibit stress on Twitter? Are University of Phoenix students more or less relaxed than UCLA undergrads? 

This is a great question. We don’t have the answers yet, but we are currently building a web application that will help provide some answers. The web application that we are developing will sample student tweets from different higher education institutes and attempt to analyze how these tweets differ by institute. We aim to beta test this application in a few months. Stay tuned!

Are students successfully using Twitter to ask their parents for money? If so, what are the most effective techniques used?

I have not come across any examples of students asking their parents for money on Twitter. I personally think this is a request best done in person rather than via Twitter. Moreover, there are a host of phishing scams out there; click here for a discussion of five of the most common scams.

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