Longhorns need financial literacy programs

Wills Layton

I don’t know how to do a whole lot.

I don’t know how to paint. I don’t know how to change a tire. I really don’t know how to ride a bike.

But like many students in college, I also don’t know how to pay taxes, how to take out a loan or buy property. These are all things one can expect to face after college. As a senior about to graduate, that has me worried — and I’m not the only one.

“I try not to think about that stuff,” communications junior Elizabeth Webster said. “I know ‘How to pay taxes’ isn’t in my degree plan, so I know I will have to either figure it out on the fly or go to a service. I am not looking forward to it.”

Students can go through their undergraduate careers and learn a lot about their major and maybe a minor. But the UT curriculum is lacking in practical skills we will all need once we graduate, including financial literacy. 

“A life skills class would help provide students with knowledge that many of us haven’t gotten in the past and maybe don’t even realize we need,” said Chandler Rouse, finance and business honors junior. “Learning about the things taught in a life skills class would help prevent students from being blindsided by unknowns in the future. A class like that would go a long way toward furthering one of the main purposes of college, which is providing students with an education that benefits them in adulthood.”

There are only 17 states that require high school students to take a class in personal finance. While Texas House Bill 1182 would have required Texas to join this club, this bill has not passed. Additionally, according to recent survey data, only 34% of polled students had taken or plan to take a personal finance class during their time in college.

The best thing the University can do at this point is to create a program that teaches not only how to successfully and carefully handle money, but also the other skills that are necessary for the real world.

Adding a program like this to the curriculum could prove to be incredibly difficult to work into a lot of people’s schedules. However, adding sessions and lessons to first-year interest groups (FIGS) could be a way to make it happen. This would enable the University to simply add an element to an already mandatory program, and would give first-year students skills they can use throughout their entire lives.

“Life skills are a necessity,” business sophomore Ashley Montgomery said. “Learning the skills earlier would make that transition easier and equip students with the confidence to handle their adult lives. Something as simple as a class or the incorporation of life skills lessons into FIGs would allow students to feel supported not only academically, but in terms of common sense.”

The University has a responsibility to do its best to prepare students for life after they leave campus. Adding this facet to the education students receive would be a positive for everyone involved.

I don’t know a whole lot. But I know UT can help me figure out the important stuff.

Layton is a marketing senior from Corpus Christi.