Here’s Why Financial Literacy Is Important And Here Are Three Colleges That Are Doing It Right

Hey guys! We got a guest post today on the topic of financial literacy! Financial Literacy Month may have been last month, but it’s importance extends well beyond the thirty days of April. So I would like to introduce Laur Davidson, freelance writer and soon-to-be college grad. You find her over at

Laur, the site is all yours. Have fun and don’t leave a mess.

Financial literacy is not something that all students understand and many of them go through college without the notion of how to properly pay their bills, save their money, or even how much money to borrow for college. This is a growing problem and something that needs to be addressed.

But, who needs to address it?

The school? The parent? Or, should children be responsible for teaching themselves? This is a subject that needs to be covered, as it will benefit the student in the financial long run. Schools and parents should be responsible for teaching students about financial literacy. Let’s look deeper into this.

[Photo courtesy of]
[Photo courtesy of]

What is Financial Literacy?

Financial literacy is best described as a solid understanding of your personal finances and being able to make a decision about them after thinking about the consequences that may come from them.

There are many pros to financial literacy, especially for students who are entering college. For example, students who have financial literacy will make better decisions about their student loans. Think about it for a moment. A student with a good understanding and grasp of financial literacy will know that they should only choose to borrow the amount of money they need to go to school.

Again, a student with financial literacy will try to find other ways to pay for college before they take on a lot of debt. In this case, the student may choose to apply for scholarships, apply for grants, or even participate in the on-campus work-study program.

The problem with not having a good grasp on financial literacy and student loans is that a student may not truly understand the negative ramifications that come along with them. It is no surprise that there is a student loan debt crisis and students who do not understand much about student loans may borrow as much as they can, every time they can, and this leads to a massive amount of debt that will be their responsibility until it is completely paid off.

In addition, students who do not have financial literacy often do not know how to budget, especially when they enter into college. What happens is the student takes out the maximum amount offered to them by their student loan and then they look at the money as play money. They can go out and party or they can eat out every night and devour a steak and lobster when they choose. This is not what the money is supposed to be used for and it can lead to serious debt.

Even if a student takes out the maximum loan amount or they have a job and receive a paycheck every week, they need to know how to budget. Without this understanding of how money works, they will run out quickly and have nothing to fall back on.

Colleges with Financial Literacy Programs

There are over 50 different colleges that offer a literacy program for students and this is a wonderful option, especially for freshmen who are entering college for the first time. Below, we will list some of the top colleges that offer literacy programs.

  1. Syracuse University

Syracuse offers a literacy program on campus and students who qualify receive a grant that will allow them to pay down some of their student loan debt. Students who successfully complete the program can become a Peer Financial Coach and help other students.

  1. Bowling Green State University

This university has partnered up with PNC to provide workshops on financial literacy to students on campus. The students have the opportunity to be awarded a $500 scholarship too. In addition, the students learn about setting financial goals for themselves, identity theft, and how to spend money with their future in mind.

  1. Ohio State University

This college has a financial coaching program on site that is dedicated to helping students become financially literate. They offer students one-on-one consultation sessions with financial experts, who will guide them and provide them with the answers they need. This program offers to provide students with a $25 waiver for late fees should they receive a consultation.

Final Thoughts on Financial Literacy and New College Students

Financial literacy is important and should be taught to students, no matter the college they attend. Unfortunately, it is not and those students who do not have financial literacy will be left to borrow money without any understanding of how student loans work and without a budget in place, nor will they know how to refinance student loans with credit unions and community banks. This can be very dangerous, so it is vital that all new college students learn financial literacy one way or another. Students who choose to attend one of the three schools above should definitely enroll in the literacy programs on site and take advantage of them.

Readers–What do YOU think!? Is financial literacy education important? Or have we done just fine so far without it? Has anybody had any experience with the financial literacy programs Laur spoke about? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!


  1. says

    I think that financial literacy is extremely important, especially when you’re dealing with the only type of debt that won’t go away in bankruptcy.

    It’s actually pretty phenomenal that these colleges are even making an attempt at teaching students skills they should have known in high school. I took an optional personal finance class in high school that ended up being invaluable to my future.

    I don’t think personal finance should be “optional.” Why learn about differential equations when you can’t even budget? What good is the Pythagorean Theorem if you’re going to blow all the money from your future engineering job on a brand new car that loses half its value in two years, anyway? (Not to mention the massive student loan debts that you’ll be lucky to pay off in ten years).

    I haven’t had any personal experience with any of those programs, and Kent State certainly didn’t respect my own finances when it came to my father losing his job, so unfortunately I can’t bring anything to the table other than a jaded viewpoint.

    • ARB says

      Agreed. I guess we can only move forward in baby steps. I don’t want to attack STEM courses as useless, but it’s amazing how geometry and trigonometry are rammed down every high school kid’s throat while no one EVER talks about compounding interest or good debt vs bad debt. It still baffles my mind how people get so worked up about the “importance” of GYM class while never acknowledging how importance a financial literacy class is. One is quite possibly the most important thing you’ll ever learn in your life, the other is gym.

      Your jaded viewpoint is always welcome on Angry Retail Banker. This blog revolves around jaded viewpoints.

      ARB–Angry Retail Banker

  2. says

    We’ve been screaming “financial literacy” from the tops of our lungs for years, taking the message to grade schools and high schools in Kansas. We now run into issues with school administration regarding getting the program pre-approved before semester. What happened to the days when a well-meaning banker could show up for career day and teach the kiddos a thing or two?? keep on plugging….

    • ARB says

      I agree! I wish me or practically anyone else can come into a school and teach kids about finance. Not about mortgage points or dollar cost averaging, but simple budgeting and compounding and stuff like that. Frankly, I just don’t think the government wants a society of financially healthy citizens.

      Keep doing your thing over there! We need more people like you fighting to get financial literacy programs into our nation’s schools. I refuse to believe in the idea that gym class is a sacred necessity but financial literacy can’t be squeezed in. Hopefully more people like you will fight for our future generations’ education.

      ARB–Angry Retail Banker

  3. Stevie says

    Financial education should start well before college. And provided by schools, as it is a universal need, while plainly obvious that parents are themselves clueless. Otherwise, how to explain the student loan problem? Parents should have intervened long before some kid borrows $40,000+ for a pedestrian major at a private college. I question spending that even for a STEM degree. Teach not just basic ROI or compound interest, but cost benefit analysis, opportunity cost, et al. While mixing in some critical thinking, like predatory student loan aspects like no discharge by bankruptcy (serfdom), ridiculously high interest rates despite government backing, and colleges advising on a loan from which they benefit. Throwing in some corporate advertising and propaganda repellent wouldn’t hurt either.

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