Steven Holm is a 2012 Bachelor of Business Administration Honours graduate who majored in Finance and Economics. Fourth in our series, the Newsroom asked Steven about doing undergraduate research at TRU.
TRU: Your project is titled, “How does a student’s source of tuition funding affect undergraduate success and effort?”. Boil it down for us.
SH: I surveyed 600 TRU students about how they paid for their tuition, as well as their GPA, how many hours they put in and demographic information. The results should show if there is a difference in performance between people who pay their own way or get the money in some other fashion. Students who pay themselves have more at stake, but they also have less time to devote to studying if they are working during school. While students on loans, parental contributions, bursaries etc. should have more time to work on their academic projects.
TRU: What attracted you to the research?
SH: It was a question I had been wondering about for several years, if the same person would perform differently under different circumstances and what the incentives are that are associated with each funding method.
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TRU: You received an Undergraduate Research Experience Award Program (UREAP) grant. How did you use it?
SH: I had some minor expenses associated with performing the survey, and will also use it for travel if I present at a conference.
TRU: Are you are doing research this summer?
SH: I’ve collected my data, I just need to crunch the numbers and write the paper. I’m working in town, but it’s been hard to find time to sit down and do the work while I’m working full time. Interestingly, my initial findings show that those who pay themselves do better than those on student loans or parental contributions.
TRU: Will your project lead to a presentation or publishing opportunity?
SH: My results are still preliminary but I’m looking at avenues for dispersing my findings.
TRU: What do you love about research? What don’t you like about it?
SH: I really like the problem solving aspect, figuring out what data to collect, how to collect it and then what to do with it after. I’m also excited to add to the knowledge on the subject, since no one has looked into this before that I have been able to find. The only downside is it is a lot of time sitting at my computer inside when I could be enjoying the summer.
TRU: Who in your field do you admire and why?
SH: I admire Richard Posner, who has been really revolutionary in applying economics to new fields like the law.
TRU: What impact do you hope your research will have?
SH: I’m hoping that universities will use my findings to improve their financial aid offerings, and students and prospective parents might also change their behaviour. It’s always good to have an understanding of what incentives are at work in our day-to-day lives.
Read more from our Q & A series on undergraduate student researchers.