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Educating College Students


Academic advisors and college counselors substantiate that financial issues are often cause of problems for college students. As the cost of an education mounts, college students are assuming more and more debt to accomplish their academic goals. According to the 2003-4 National Post Secondary Student Aid Study, 65% of students finish their undergraduate degree with an average of about $20,000 in student loan debt and $2500 in credit card debt. Student debt has moved out of the era of low-fixed rates to a variable rate that changes every year based on the 91-day Treasury Bill. This has already resulted in a 2% to 3% increase in interest rates. The majority of students have credit cards and use them wisely. However, 14% report balances over $1000. College students already face financial decision-making in that they must balance their education against their part- and often full-time jobs. As such, many students are making the wrong economic choice in delaying the completion of their degrees to earn more money at the often low-paying jobs that they hold.


The positive effect of education has been documented. College students who have taken a personal finance course are less likely to be financially at-risk. Many colleges are incorporating financial education in their first year experience.


College students differ in the type of education they prefer. Community college students prefer to receive their information in discussion with a financial professional, at a campus workshop and over the internet. They prefer receiving the information from a financial aid officer. Themes they want covered include: the financial aid process, debt management, financial management, financial independence, financial literacy, financial education as prevention, and they want diversity addressed.


Core Topics:

How to keep a budget

Economic evaluation of alternatives

The banking system

Debt and sources of credit

Job benefits

Saving instruments

Financial goals

Time value of money (compounding)

Effect of inflation

Risk management

Individual income tax





Financial and economic analysis

Select and understand life, health, auto, and homeowner insurance

Evaluate financial services such as loans and credit cards including assessment of fees

Create a personal budget and income statement

Create a personal financial plan (understand the difference between budget expenses and long term goals)

Create a personal balance sheet and understand net worth

Manage stock portfolio

Asset allocate a portfolio



Classroom instruction

One-on-one, internet and printed format preferred by 4-year college students




Cude, B., Lawrence, F. Lyons, A. Metzger, K. LeJeune, E., Marks, L. and Machtmes, K., (2006) College Students and Financial Literacy:  What They Know and What We need to Learn. Eastern Family Economics and Resource Management Association 2006 Conference.


Chen, H. and Volpe, R. (1998) An Analysis of Personal Financial Literacy Among College Students, Financial Services Review, 7(2) 107-128


GAO, (2001) College Students and Credit Cards.


Lyons, A. and Hunt, J. (2003) The Credit Practices and Financial Education Needs of Community College Students









This website is maintained by Leslie Lum and does not reflect the opinions or position of Bellevue Community College.  Contact if you have any questions.

Last updated: 1/12/07