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 credit.”

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 accounts.”

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 Amani.

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.

Media Contacts:
Sam Leong of Student Financial Services at (714) 278-4074

Pamela McLaren of Public Affairs at (714) 278-4852 or pmclaren@fullerton.edu


Public Affairs Offices/Campus News
[Bakersfield] [Chancellor's Office] [Channel Islands] [Chico]
[Dominguez Hills] [East Bay] [Fresno] [Fullerton] [Humboldt] [Long Beach] [Los Angeles] [Maritime Academy] [Monterey_Bay] [Northridge] [Pomona] [Sacramento] [San Bernardino] [San Diego] [San Francisco] [San Jose] [San Luis Obispo] [San Marcos] [Sonoma] [Stanislaus]