Campus: CSU Fullerton -- June 13, 2005
Financial Literacy Program Funded at Cal State Fullerton
A Cal State Fullerton program that educates students on the ins and
outs of personal finance — from opening a bank account and using
a credit card to financing large purchases — has begun its second
year, thanks to an additional $40,000 in funding from EdFund, a student
loan guarantee service provider.
“How to handle money has really not been addressed in the K-12
education system,” noted Elahe Amani, director of student financial
services, who secured the grant funding. “Students need to know
how to save, spend wisely and when to resist the temptation of easy
Last fall, incoming freshmen — nearly 3,500 students — were
surveyed about establishing a budget, saving money and use of credit
cards. From that group, approximately 650 students signed up to become
part of the university’s fledgling Financial Literacy Program.
“We developed the questionnaire to obtain and assess information
on the level of personal financial literacy among incoming freshmen
and transfer students,” said Amani. “We found that there
is a need to help students learn to budget, to be more alert to how
they are spending their money, using credit, handling checking and saving
In the survey, 72 percent reported that they learned the most about
managing money from their family; 69 percent said they save regularly;
65 percent have ATM cards; and 62 percent reported they could pass up
a bargain and only buy what they need and will use.
Still, 58 percent of those surveyed noted that they have not developed
a budget; 20 percent said they don’t know how much debt they are
carrying; 18 percent reported that they have no money left after paying
bills; and 29 percent said dealing with money creates stress and chaos
in their lives.
“Such information is invaluable in devising educational materials
to address the needs specific to our student population,” said
Among the educational materials being developed are a CD and a website
to provide resources and information to assist students in forming strong
money management skills. Students have been involved with the two projects
to ensure that the material presented is relevant to students at large.
To see the website, go to http://financialliteracy.fullerton.edu.
Amani also is asking local lenders to identify possible guest speakers
who could talk about various financial matters with students during
noon gatherings. Topics may include investment planning, student loans
and debt management, Amani added. American Express recently donated
$10,000 to support the effort.
In addition, a campus advisory board has been established to oversee
the development and execution of the program. Those serving on the board
are: Deborah McCracken, director of financial aid; Jeremiah Moore, director
of student academic services; Larry Martin, acting senior program coordinator,
New Student Programs; and Ross McCollum, Associated Students vice president
of finance who is majoring in kinesiology and biological science.
Next step, Amani said, will be to expand the program to include community
college students from institutions with high numbers of students who
enroll at Cal State Fullerton.
“We want to develop a relationship with incoming students,”
said Amani. “This is a new time and new experience for students.
It’s important that we provide them with the skills it takes to
succeed — not only in the classroom but financially too.”
For more information about the program, call (714) 278-2495.
Sam Leong of Student Financial Services at (714) 278-4074
Pamela McLaren of Public Affairs at (714) 278-4852 or firstname.lastname@example.org