Grant to Fund Program to Increase
Student Financial Savvy
From Dateline (November 20, 2003)
Financing a college degree is not just about
writing a check – and as many parents and their children learn,
there are pitfalls for college students when they open a bank account,
finance a car or use a credit card.
As the parent of two college graduates, Elahe Amani
saw first-hand how even the most responsible student can get caught
up in the marketing and hype about easy money.
“How to handle money has really not been addressed
in the K-12 education system,” Amani, director of student
financial services, says with regret. “Everywhere you go,
you’re hit with the temptation of easy credit. When students
come to campus, they are offered credit cards with limits of $1,000
to $1,500 – suddenly they ‘seem’ to have lots
of money. And then the fall: they enter a cycle of paying minimum
balances and incur ongoing financial fees that amount to more than
they spent in the first place.
“Young people need to build wisdom and knowledge
on how to resist this easy cash, easy credit bombardment.”
With $40,000 in first-year funding from EdFund, a
student loan guarantee service provider, Amani is developing ways
to educate Cal State Fullerton students in personal financial management.
In the planning stages are a variety of materials on such aspects
of finance as credit card and check use and identity protection.
Amani is hoping to work with other areas of campus, such as financial
aid, as partners in the effort. The goal is to deliver the information
through seminars, CDs and a Web site and launch the program at New
Student Orientation sessions for freshmen entering Cal State Fullerton
in fall 2004.
With second- and third-year funding, the goal will
be to increase the reach of the program to transfer students, upper
classmen and eventually, to high school and community college students
from institutions with high numbers of students who enroll at CSUF.
“We want to draw attention to the need for
better planning and setting limits,” says Amani. “Our
long-term goal is to establish relationships with students that
are mutually beneficial and sustainable throughout their academic
career and ensure that they have the skills necessary to allow them
to succeed as well with their personal finances as they will in
their academic pursuits.”
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