If students are not financially ready to manage loans and credit cards, then they're neither College-ready nor Career-ready.
By: Kathy Griffin
Published: March 18, 2011
Learning Centers seeking ways to diversify their offerings would do well to consider financial literacy instruction. The Financial Literacy movement is an opportunity to strengthen and broaden the value of offerings to the families of college-bound students. Of course, students who don't complete high school or don't enter college need personal finance instruction as much as their college-bound peers.
It’s no longer enough just to get them into college; to be truly college-ready, students need to be able to right-size their student loan total, in researched consideration of their expected starting salary and employability.
I'd argue that it's immoral to help a student get into college without the skills to manage his or her student loans and finances. It's like handing over the car keys without any Driver Ed! Tragically, students burdened by student loans, credit card debt and poor credit score, also hurt their employability, and even their ability to sign a lease.
Parents universally get it that their kids need to learn personal finance skills, but even financially-competent parents don't always know how to teach such skills effectively themselves. Most parents would be thrilled at the opportunity to delegate financial training to skilled educators. In fact, University of Illinois, Ohio University, and St Joseph College actively promote their MoneyU® programs to the parents of their students.
It's in our national interest to prepare students to be financially self-sufficient citizens, and States are starting to realize it's in their interest, too: witness the rise in States' mandating Personal Finance as a highschool graduation requirement.
One way to help students keep college costs down is to steer them to community college. It's an inexpensive way to dispatch with one or two years of 100-level courses and other prerequisites, before transferring to a 4-year program. And by the way, transfer students generally find higher acceptance rates than first-year applicants.
About the Contributor
Kathy Griffin is a financial literacy educator and advocate. She created MoneyU®, an award-winning web-based game that teaches financial skills to young adults 17 to 25, so they can manage their student loans, credit cards, bank accounts, and savings plans. MoneyU is used in high schools, colleges, and homes, and over 10,000 have graduated. Kathy has also founded the Center for Financial Literacy, a nonprofit whose mission is to bring financial literacy programs to underserved and at-risk youth.