Implement optional financial literacy module

Susan Cardone

College is supposed to prepare you for adult life. Unfortunately, many students are not taught how to manage their finances before they graduate –– and they should be. 

UT should offer students an optional financial literacy module to provide education about general financial topics, such as budgeting, taxes, financial aid and more, to give students confidence in the skills necessary for managing money and conducting their own finances.

Currently at UT, there are a few programs that include information about finances. Bevonomics and the Texas One Stop website have links to PowerPoints and external financial resources.

Traci Armes, deputy director of the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid, said the office is currently working on putting all of its finance-related PowerPoints in a single place on the financial wellness website so students can more easily access them.

While these resources are a good start, they lack structure and interaction. By creating a financial literacy module that condenses the most important information about finances in one central format, the University could enable students to both access the content they need and actively learn about it.

This module would educate students through a set format where students could learn and interact with content as they go. Additionally, students would choose whether or not they want to take the module, which would always be available on the UT website for students who prefer to complete the course in the future. Other colleges have successfully implemented such programs.

Armes said that the office also has a Financial Wellness team that offers individual counseling. This program is a great way to offer individualized help for students in emergency situations or with personal financial problems. 

“You can be educated on things, but if you don’t have the tools to actually do something with that education, it stops there,” Armes said. “So we’re trying to educate and then have the tools to where students, if they need additional assistance, can actually reach out to someone to focus on their own specific situation.” 

However, I argue that UT needs to first teach students about financial topics so that they can feel confident managing and conducting necessary financial tasks on their own. Then, if they still need more individualized assistance, programs like Texas Financial Wellness can help.

Cecilia Jubera, a junior in the professional accounting program, notes that having an optional financial literacy module would help college students who are in financial situations they have never been in before.

“I feel like there’s just so much information that people don’t have to think about before they come into college that suddenly hits you like a train,” Jubera said. 

Jubera also said that some of her classes in McCombs touch on personal financial management. 

“When I file my taxes, I’m going to look at these terms and understand what they mean a little bit more,” Jubera said. “I think it would be beneficial for that information and those lessons (from McCombs classes) to be more universally accessible for students.” 

Many students don’t have the privilege of being financially literate for a variety of reasons, one of which being the lack of available programs to help them.

UT needs to offer an optional financial literacy module to teach students about basic, necessary money topics. That way, students can face their current and future financial situations with confidence and knowledge.

Our college education is supposed to teach us what we need to know to be successful in our futures. That should include our financial endeavors, too.

Cardone is a government and social work sophomore from San Antonio, Texas.