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The Cumulative Financial Costs of Victimization among College Students at Minority Serving Institutions

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2023
150 pages

This study evaluates the costs of victimization among a cohort of first-semester students at minority-serving institutions (MSIs).


The purpose of the Challenges of Safety and Transitions Study (COSTs) was to extend the study of the costs of victimization in both methodological and topical ways among a cohort of first-semester students at minority-serving institutions (MSIs). The conclusions derived from COSTs affirm the broad scope of tangible and intangible consequences endured by individuals after victimization and emphasize the need to move beyond simple cost estimates as a means to view the impact of victimization. Researchers and policymakers should note the range and duration of the various consequences endured after victimization. These findings are particularly relevant to university administrations given the documented educational consequences associated with victimization. COSTs consisted of three methodological components: 1) a three-wave prospective, longitudinal survey; 2) official campus enrollment and graduation data; and 3) focus group interviews. The study reached the following conclusions regarding the financial costs of victimization among this cohort of first-semester college students: 1) the majority of victimization incidents did not result in any short-term out-of-pocket financial costs across victimization type, with the exception of robbery, property theft, trespassing, and identity theft; 2) educational consequences can and should be translated into financial costs of victimization, and these costs should be accounted for in estimates of the financial costs of victimization; 3) there is little variation in short-term financial costs of victimization across individual demographics, including student characteristics, gender, race, and ethnicity; 4) financial costs of victimization, particularly immediate (same-wave) financial costs, are compounded by multiple victimization experiences; 5) most help-seeking strategies do not reduce the likelihood of financial costs for victims in the short-term, but seeking help from medical professionals may offset the negative impact of PTSD on short-term consequences; and 6) Participants struggle both morally and conceptually with assigning any dollar value to victimization experiences.

Date Published: September 1, 2023