A revitalized workshop aimed at advising college students strapped for cash was held in the Intercultural Center last night.
¢ommon $ense, led by Mike Ryan, an adjunct professor in the McDonough School of Business, stressed the need for students to embrace financial planning to a classroom packed with students.
The workshop was the first of several such sessions organized by the Office of Student Financial Services and the Georgetown University Alumni and Student Federal Credit Union and sponsored by the George R. Houston Memorial Fund.
“It has been increasingly noted that issues of personal finance are frequently overlooked in students’ regular academic courses,” said Marina Test, executive assistant to the Dean of the Office of Student Financial Services. “The program aims to empower students with financial knowledge for their futures.”
The workshops are open to all Georgetown University undergraduate and graduate students and are led by local alumni, professors in the MSB and financial literacy experts. The series will cover a variety of topics ranging from budgeting to investing.
The OSFS and GUASFCU launched the ¢ommon $ense workshops in 2006 to alleviate what they said was a widespread lack of financial literacy in the Georgetown community.
Test said each workshop is designed to address a vital financial literacy topic or issue that students have asked the OSFS about in the past.
“We have come up with a program that effectively addresses many of the concerns held by our student population that is often overlooked by regular curricula,” she said.
Yesterday’s workshop was advertised as an introductory session, but functioned as an interactive dialogue as Ryan addressed several pressing financial topics. In addition to advising students, he threw St Patrick’s Day-themed T-shirts and $1 bills to those who provided insightful answers.
Ryan encouraged students to think ahead in financial planning as far as retirement and to take ownership and responsibility of their own financial affairs.
“Many of us don’t want to seem to learn about financial management, and that’s dangerous,” he said.
Eric Reed (COL ’11) said he attended because he was worried about mounting student debts as he prepares to enroll in medical school.
“I’m looking to minimize the damage,” he said.
Others, such as David Chen (NHS ’14), attended with the intention of more broadly educating themselves in the science of financial management.
“I don’t have anything in mind about what to expect, but I want to learn how to use my money wisely,” he said.
The workshop series was launched in 2006 after the OSFS became aware of the limited knowledge college students and recent graduates had of their personal finances. After four years of the program, the findings of the 2010 Personal Finance Assessment Survey and subsequent evaluation by the Baker Scholar Program continued to emphasize the need and demand for such a program, said Katie Cohen (COL ’12), chief executive officer of GUASFCU.
The survey found that 97.5 percent of the student body saw increased financial literacy education as beneficial, and that 62.9 percent of students would be likely to invest time in a personal finance course.
The high response rate of the survey further suggested an interest among students in learning about financial management.
The implementation of ¢ommon $ense reflects a growing trend toward increased financial literacy education across the country. Universities such as Dartmouth College and the University of Pennsylvania have implemented similar programs in recent years. In addition, financial literacy courses have become mandatory in several states nationwide, as administrators have realized that college-bound students are without the necessary tools to make good financial decisions, Test said.
Future sessions will focus on topics such as debt and credit, budgeting, saving and investment. The series will culminate in an alumni panel on various finance-related topics.
Workshops take place for the next four Thursdays at 6:15 p.m. in ICC 105.
Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.