Financial responsibility guidance for students

Outside of online and in-person financial literacy sessions, colleges and universities are finding innovative strategies to guide students toward being more financially responsible in both their college and adult lives.

  • In 2017, the University of Missouri began limiting what students could purchase with their campus cards. The intent was to help students to control the debt they acquire for nonacademic purchases as well as to keep them in good standing with the university. Some critics fear the move could have a negative impact, especially on lower-income students, who may use the card to pay for food, hygiene items and other essentials.
  • At least two institutions—including the University of Kentucky and Purdue University in Indiana—are researching the possibility of providing matching dollars for a student’s work-study earnings that would be placed in an investment account. While in school, students would be offered information on the benefits of such accounts and on how to invest wisely. Students would be able to draw from these accounts at any point after graduation.

LINK TO MAIN ARTICLE: Banking on literacy in higher ed

  • Other institutions are looking to programs such as Aid Like a Paycheck, in which student loan refunds are paid in biweekly increments rather than in one lump sum. The intent is to teach students how to responsibly manage money after graduation, when they’re receiving regular paychecks. An early pilot of the program, at San Jacinto College in Texas and in the Houston Community College system, found students had become more financially responsible and were able to reduce work hours to focus more on their studies. However, preliminary results of a comprehensive study on the program that began in 2014 revealed mixed results; final results are set to be released in 2018.

Heather Kerrigan is an Ohio-based writer who has written extensively on financial aid.


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