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    Project Summary: Arkansas State University

    Arkansas State University’s project places emphasis on the use of technology and peer mentorship to improve financial literacy in doctoral students, master’s students, veterans, and first-year undergraduate students. The Graduate School’s innovative peer-to-peer model ensures not only access to relevant information, but also encourages students to act on their knowledge to change their financial behaviors. The goal of the project is to educate students about financial matters and then to follow up with contact with peers who have either lived through the consequences of excessive debt to reasonable levels.


    Project plan and activities:


    The Interactive Teaching and Technology Center (ITTC) developed a personalized National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) CashCourse website to distribute financial education materials. ASU’s personalized CashCourse website provides students with resources, videos, and tips on managing finances.


    Financial education materials were developed and introduced in the First Year Experience (FYE) course for first year undergraduates. Students can access newly developed course materials on their iPads through iTunes U. New financial education material on budgeting, taxes, helping students to understand the true costs of borrowed money, and helping students to have realistic expectation of what ranges of income are currently available for their majors, were developed using material from the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank and NEFE. First year undergraduates also attend a series of peer-directed workshops, created and presented by students from Phi Beta Lambda, the Business honors society.


    For graduate students, the core concerns are managing existing debt and making the transition to career. Peer seminar sessions and workshops on the effect of debt on one’s career and strategies for navigating the transition to work without accruing additional debt are available to both doctoral and master’s students. Students also have access to newly developed online financial education materials.


    Program directors have access to peer workshops for use in their introductory or methods courses. Master’s students also have program specific honors societies or other student organizations that host workshops for programs that do not have introductory courses. The graduate Student Council hosts workshops and helps to publicize the CashCourse program (3rd party, through NEFE) and online financial education components available on the website.


    International students receive expanded financial education aimed at navigating international financial challenges, as well as a financial education workshop series especially tailored to the concerns of international graduate students. These workshops are taught by students and hosted by International Programs.


    Veterans have increased information available in the Registrar’s office and the ASU Beck Pride Center, which serves combat wounded veterans. The Beck Pride Center links to CashCourse and CGS online materials on its website. The Pride Center also hosts workshops specific to the financial concerns of veterans. Veterans who are reservists gain additional material on the financial protections afforded them by the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act of 1940.


    More information on the project can be found here.


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