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Business Officer Magazine

Spreading Financial Literacy

At the concurrent session, "Student Financial Literacy Strategies That Work," panelists at two research universities—one public and one private—discussed how the institutions have successfully implemented financial literacy programs to help students manage their finances not only in college, but also after they graduate.

Andrea Pellegrini, visiting assistant director, university student financial services and cashier operations, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said the USFSCO's Student Money Management Center employs both proactive and reactive approaches to spread financial literacy among its students in its three campuses located in Chicago, Springfield, and Urbana-Champaign. These include a financial literacy requirement, webinars, a Web site , e-mail and video outreach, a savings competition, workshops with other departments, and social media.

Ruth Sharp, bursar at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, said six percent of the institute's operating revenue comes from student tuition and fees, making timely payments from students critical to the institution's functioning. Contributing factors that lead to financial mismanagement by students include lack of a role model; familial and obligatory responsibilities, especially among international students; risky or addictive behavior; and disorders such as attention deficit disorder or Asperger's syndrome that create an inability to organize budgets. The university has created six programs in partnership with other departments to target students at risk for financial mismanagement.

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