Financial education in state colleges and universities in the US
Danns, Donna Edwina
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Financial knowledge and adroitness in money management have become imperatives for consumers in all segments of society. As consumers, college students face financial challenges that are unique to them as well as many of the same challenges facing the wider population. Some students are entering college with pressing financial responsibilities, but in particular, previous researchers found that students were impacted by mounting credit card and student loan debt. Researchers point to a lack of basic financial knowledge on the part of college students and posit that this deficiency may be a result of a systematic lack of personal financial education. While there is no widespread sense of urgency to promote students’ financial literacy, some colleges have instituted campus-based programs to address the issue. Most studies on college financial education focus on programs at research-based universities. This dissertation, through the case study method, investigates the approaches taken by state colleges and universities to address students’ financial education needs. Second, through the focus groups on three campuses at University of North Georgia (UNG), it examines the financial educational needs from the students’ standpoint. Seven diverse cases provide holistic pictures of how universities develop, sustain and grow financial education programs. This study found that the nature and impact of programs are contingent on several factors including the reasons for program initiation, the institutional clout of program champions, the institutional units from which programs emerge, program marketing, connectivity of programs and available resources. A four-fold typology of organizational models for campus-based programs was developed to facilitate analysis. These are the Academic Model, the Full-Fledged Money Management Center Model, the Branch Model and the Seed Program. The focus groups revealed that parents are discussing issues of frugality, budgeting and credit card usage with students. Students report not being overwhelmed by credit card debt at this time. There are significant differences in the levels of financial satisfaction among various ethnic and other groups at UNG. Overwhelmingly, students wanted financial education from UNG and preferred the classroom delivery method over other methods. Students wanted to learn about budgeting, investing, credit cards, student loans, and savings.