The University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
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The first scientific study of young adults’ changing financial knowledge and practices.

Why is this study important? By some estimates, 80% of life’s most significant events – from degree attainment to marriage and career formation – take place by the age of 30. Yet today’s changing economic landscape and increasingly complex financial decisions draw attention to a growing financial uncertainty among young adults.

How do college students learn to make financial decisions? To find out, Dr. Joyce Serido, Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota and Dr. Soyeon Shim at the University of Wisconsin are collaborating with Dr. Melissa Curran at the University of Arizona in launching APLUS Wave 4.

Wave 4, when our participants are between the ages of 26-29, is the perfect time to explore the intersection of finances, relationships, and purpose, to address these research questions:

• How does financial instability impact the life choices of the present generation of young adults?
• Do financial considerations affect the formation and quality of romantic relationships?
• How are young adults managing competing financial obligations, including student loans?

APLUS Wave 4

Wave 4 launched May, 2016 and closed on September 9th, 2016. Once again, we have met our goal and are so appreciative of all the fantastic APLUS participants who joined our efforts to help advocate for young adults. Read the Wave 4 Report now!

APLUS In the news!

Beckie Supiano (July 17, 2015). Financial Literacy: Can It Be Taught? Should Colleges Even Try? The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Graduates Struggle for Autonomy. (July 2014). Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

Chicago Tribune. (July 2014) Young Adults Feel Financial Strain -

James Marshall Crotty. (June 2014). Why 50% of College Graduates Need Help from Mom & Dad. Forbes.

Project Synopsis

Spring 2016
The University of Arizona, The University of Minnesota, and The University of Wisconsin launch Wave 4 of the APLUS Study!

Fall, 2014
Dr. Serido becomes Associate Professor, Family Social Science in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota.

APLUS a unique longitudinal study becomes a three-university collaboration.

Fall, 2012 - Spring, 2013
Dr. Serido assumes the role of APLUS Principal Investigator as Dr. Shim becomes the Dean of the School of Human Ecology, The University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Together, they launch Wave 3: Adaptation and Resilience in financial, career, and life success among Young Adults.

The Wave 3 study will examine how life choices and opportunities facing today's young adults contribute to, or detract from, personal, financial, and career well-being

The APLUS project has been made possible through the generous support of the National Endowment of Financial Education and the Citi Foundation.

Fall, 2010 – Spring, 2011
Dr. Shim and Dr. Serido launch Wave 2: Young Adults’ Financial Capability Study

Survey data collected from over 1,500 of the participants in the baseline study as they prepare to leave  college to understand how prepared they are for the life-changing experiences awaiting them as they enter the world of full-time adult responsibility.

Spring, 2009
Dr. Shim and Dr. Joyce Serido, Co-Principal Investigator, launch the Wave 1.5: Economic Impact Study

Shortly after the global financial credit crisis, data collected from a subsample (748) of the baseline study participants to understand the immediate impact of the recession on young adults’ financial behaviors.

Fall, 2007 – Spring, 2008
Dr. Soyeon Shim, Professor/Former Director of the Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences and original APLUS Principal Investigator, launches Wave 1: Baseline Study

Survey data collected from more than 2,000 first-year students enrolled at the University of Arizona to understand the pre-college experiences that contributed to college students’ financial attitudes and behaviors.

APLUS Partner Institutions University of Arizona Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences University of Minnesota Department of Family Social Science University of Wisconsin School of Human Ecology

We thank the National Endowment For Financial Education for their continuing financial support of the APLUS project. Thank you to Great Lakes Education for your support of Wave 4 and to Citi Foundation for their past support.