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Course aimed at money

BY MARLEEN LINARES | OCTOBER 09, 2009 7:20 AM

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UI students could soon be able to learn the true value of a dollar.

Student Credit and Money Management Services has developed a financial literacy course. If approved, one section will be offered in the spring.

The class will focus on money management, including setting personal goals and budgets, as well as developing investing strategies. The course will also teach students what to look for in future jobs, exploring beyond the amount of pay to the benefits.

“The idea came from the desire to expand upon tools to be successful in finances not only in college but beyond as well,” said David Grady, an associate vice president of Student Services and dean of students.

He supervised the planning for the course, which examined those similar offered at other universities across the nation. After studying the topics and structures of existing courses, officials created a syllabus.

The course will serve as a trial run, said Kristi Finger, assistant director of the UI Student Credit and Money Management Office.

“Because it’s the first semester, we’re going to just do the one section and see how it goes and evaluate from there,” she said.

The office is tasked with helping students be literate in matters financial. The organization also offers free budget and credit counseling to students.

The class is an offshoot of the services the programs offer, Finger said, and she hopes students will be more interested in the topic.

“Attendance [at the workshops] has been spotty,” she said. “This course is a way for students to get more in depth in the topic while getting class credit for it.”

UI students graduate with roughly $20,000 in debt — sixth highest in the nation. The university estimates students spend $2,000 in personal expenses each semester.

According to Marketing Spot, an Internet marketing site, college students average about $2,000 in yearly credit-card debt and only around $400 in monthly income.

Though the course has not been offered before, some UI students said they feel it won’t help financial burdens.

“I probably wouldn’t take the course because I feel like I can manage my money pretty well on my own,” UI freshman Allie Wright said. “It wouldn’t help me toward my major, either.”

Officials said the class would have positive benefits.

“I hope the course will really give students a good feel for what they have to do to have healthy finances,” Finger said. “We just want to give them the resources for them to be successful in the future.”


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