Mar 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

College students hanging tight onto stimulus money

Data: Generation Lab poll; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Generation Lab poll; Chart: Axios Visuals

Of the college students receiving stimulus checks, 62% plan to pocket or invest their new cash, according to a new Generation Lab/Axios poll.

Why it matters: It's money that won't be fed back into the economy, and one indicator that the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill will benefit many individuals in a way that won't necessarily help the economy roar back.

  • 44% plan to spend the money on essentials, while 27% plan to pay off their credit card, student loans or other debts.

Even among the 84% of students who have been or plan to get vaccinated, less than half (42%) plan to visit indoor bars.

  • They would rather have fun in more controlled settings. 53% said they would probably or definitely attend house parties. For those who don't plan to get vaccinated, 62% would attend house parties.
  • Many plan to carry some of the more wholesome behavior shifts from the pandemic into the future, like spending more time outside (40%) and living with or spending more time with family members (36%).

Taking a way-too-early look at 2024, college students have somewhat rallied around President Biden, at least compared to February 2020, when he polled at just 7% compared to Bernie Sanders' 42%.

  • Asked who they would vote for in the next presidential election, 27% favored Biden, 22% went for Sanders and 14% picked former President Donald Trump.

Methodology: The poll was conducted March 16-18, 2021, from a representative sample of 804 college students. The margin of error is +/- 3.4 percentage points. Generation Lab’s polling is conducted using a demographically representative panel of college students from around the country. The surveys are administered digitally.


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