Catherine Montalto

Faculty Emeritus, Department of Human Sciences

Program Area: Consumer Sciences

(614) 292-4571

Personal Website

Download Vitae


Catherine Montalto is an associate professor of Consumer Sciences in the Department of Human Sciences and co-PI for the Study on Collegiate Financial Wellness. She received her PhD from Cornell University and her master's and bachelor's degrees from The Ohio State University. She teaches courses on applied consumer economic theory and analysis of survey data with a focus on factors impacting decisions around the allocation of time and money.

Montalto is involved with several university initiatives around student financial wellness and is a member of the Student Financial Wellness Task Force and Student Life Wellness Collaborative. She is also a member of Ohio Staters, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to service and preservation of the welfare and traditions of The Ohio State University.


  • PhD, Consumer Economics and Housing (Applied Economics, Labor Economics) Cornell University, 1992
  • MS, Textiles and Clothing, The Ohio State University, 1979
  • BS, General Home Economics, The Ohio State University, 1979

Research Interests

Research Summary

As a consumer economist, Montalto studies factors and processes affecting the economic status and financial security of households and individual household members. In addition, she studies methodological issues germane to her primary research focus and shares this knowledge with other researchers through teaching, collaboration, conference presentations, manuscript publication and participation in web-based users’ groups. Her research trajectory has included household saving behavior including retirement preparation and emergency savings, time allocation and labor force participation behavior and consumer financial strategies related to education and health care.

Student financial wellness is Montalto's current research focus. She partnered in the collection of the 2010 Ohio Student Financial Wellness Survey (19 Ohio postsecondary institutions; nearly 5,800 students), and the Studies on Collegiate Financial Wellness in 2014 (52 postsecondary institutions; more than 17,000 students), 2017 (65 postsecondary institutions; more than 28,500 students), and 2020 (60 postsecondary institutions; nearly 25,000 students). The purpose of these studies is to advance understanding of how student financial behaviors, stress and experiences are related to student educational and career outcomes. The goal is to better understand how financial wellness affects the college experience, and academic and career success. Our nation has experienced dramatic economic changes in recent years. The results of this continuing research will inform initiatives and interventions launched by colleges, universities, state governments and federal government agencies in their efforts to assist current and future students achieve financial and personal success.

Related Links

Selected Publications

  • Letkiewicz, J. C., Lim, H., Heckman, S. J. & Montalto, C. P. (2019). Parental financial socialization: Is too much help leading to debt ignorance among college students? Family & Consumer Sciences Research Journal, 48(2), 149-164. DOI: 10.1111/fcsr.12341
  • Baker, A. R. & Montalto, C. P. (2019).  Student loan debt and financial stress: Implications for academic performance. Journal of College Student Development, 60(1), 115-120. DOI: 10.1353/CSD.2019.0008
  • Montalto, C. P., Phillips, E. L., McDaniel, A. & Baker, A. R. (2018). College student financial wellness: Student loans and beyond. Journal of Family and Economic Issues 40(1), 3-21. DOI: 10.1007/s10834-018-9593-4
  • Heckman, S. J. & Montalto, C. P. (2018). Consumer risk preferences and higher education enrollment decisions. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 52(1), 166-196. DOI: 10.1111/joca.12139
  • Fox, J. J., Bartholomae, S., Letkiewicz, J., & Montalto, C. P. (2017). College student debt and anticipated repayment difficulty. Journal of Student Financial Aid, 47(2), 111-135.
  • Letkiewicz, J., Lim, H., Heckman, S., Bartholomae, S., Fox, J., & Montalto, C. P. (2014). The path to graduation: Factors predicting on-time graduation rates. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory, & Practice, 16(3), 351-371.
  • Heckman, S., Lim, H., & Montalto, C. P. (2014). Factors related to financial stress among college students. Journal of Financial Therapy, 5(1), 19-39.
  • Lim, H., Heckman, S. J., Letkiewicz, J. C., & Montalto, C. P. (2014). Financial stress, self-efficacy, and financial help-seeking behavior of college students. Financial Counseling and Planning, 25(2), 148-160.