As an educational institution, Georgetown teaches us many esoteric facts concerning finance like the annual export in kilos of gold from the Nubians to the Egyptians during the new kingdom. Yet most Georgetown students are ill-equipped to handle their own financial decisions. The university provides students with tutorials on the dangers of drinking with AlcoholEdu; why not warn students of the perils of identity theft? Georgetown should implement a full-scale program on personal finances.

In today’s financial climate, knowing how to deal with debt and credit cards, prevent identity theft and save money is necessary. America is experiencing soaring consumer debt levels. Sadly, with student loans and use of credit cards by college students, this trend is starting early – the average college student graduates with massive credit card debt, close to $4,000.

Students are already being forced to make serious financial decisions that many don’t realize will have major consequences and could affect the rest of their lives. Unequipped with financial knowledge, students are very likely to handle their money poorly and at no fault of their own. Students can so easily get stuck in the trap of debt. This burden is something that will follow them for years to come, as they try to buy a car or purchase their first home.

Providing education on financial responsibility is not an entirely new concept to Georgetown. But it is clear that such a major problem must be faced with a more widespread approach. For instance, there was a lecture on financial responsibility by Professor Mike Ryan during Senior Dis-Orientation. However, by senior year, many students will have already accrued debt and have been injudiciously using credit cards – with no knowledge of hidden fees and other traps – for years. Additionally, most students, unaware of the danger of their own ignorance, will not attend the lectures Georgetown provides. Georgetown should recognize that, just as they must force us to pursue knowledge that we wouldn’t seek out of our own volition through the core curriculum and the Scholarly Research and Academic Integrity Tutorial students must be compelled to learn how to handle their finances.

Georgetown doesn’t even need to create its own program. The National Endowment for Financial Education now provides an “easily-implemented, unbiased and noncommercial financial education solution for colleges, universities and alumni associations to offer to their students.”

uch like AlcoholEdu, Georgetown can even turn to online resources like CashCourse, an online financial education resource created by NEFE, which is directed at college students and recent grads. This program has already bean implemented by Ohio State University, the Michigan State University Alumni Association, University of Iowa, the University of Wisconsin Alumni Association and the University of Illinois Alumni Association. The NEFE has even made sure that signing up and implementing the program is as easy as possible for participating institutions.

In providing such an education to students, Georgetown would be doing a great service. Cultivating proper money management skills would have an effect that would last a lifetime, and, if the administration needs more of an incentive, establishing smart financial habits in its students might even lead to higher alumni donations in the future.

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