University aims to combat financial literacy problem

The Bursar's Office is responsible for the billing and payment plans of students everywhere. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

A new financial literacy report released by the Patriot Bank of Stamford gave Connecticut a score of “F” on financial education. The University of Connecticut plans to combat this growing problem with a Financial Literacy Workshop to be given at all freshman orientations, according to the Bursars Office at the Avery Point campus.

The report reveals that nearly half of Americans lack basic financial literacy. sixty percent of Americans spend money freely, without making a budget, while 34 percent of parents do not discuss money with their children. Fewer than 7 percent of surveyed Connecticut high schools require students to take a course in financial literacy, according to the report.

Many students enter college without adequate knowledge on how to take out loans, or on how to budget their money now that they are on their own, according to the report.

“If they’re incoming freshman, I would say it’s 75-25 [percent], where the 25 [percent] know what they’re doing,” UConn Avery Point Bursar administrative assistant Joyce Wood said.

The university aims to help students become more financially literate with the Money Matters presentation that will be given to freshmen, Wood said.

“It’s a PowerPoint presentation and question and answer session,” Wood said. “It will let them know what their responsibilities are.”

The presentation will discuss with students the responsibilities that come with paying for college, including financial aid and taking out loans. It will also teach students about credit and how to avoid accumulating debt.

“I think it also encompasses how to manage your money,” Wood said.

Much of the presentation will cover how students should plan their financial goals. It mentions reasons to save money, ways to set and follow a budget as well as the responsibilities of using a bank account and credit card, according to Wood.

“So many current high school and college students use debit cards that they don’t even consider balancing their checkbook,” UConn Avery Point Associate Director of Academic Advising Nancy Steenburg said. “They never even look, and that can potentially ruin your credit and drain your account.”

Both Wood and Steenburg said that being on top of financial aid and paying tuition are the beginnings of real financial success and security.

“That 25 percent of kids that want to succeed are really on top of things even before they get here,” Wood said.

The university will begin presenting the workshop with the freshman entering during the fall semester.

“Understanding the responsibilities of financial aid is key,” Steenburg said.


Gino De Angelis is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at gino.de_angelis@uconn.edu.