PULLMAN – During the current financial crisis, WSU departments and programs are helping students manage their finances through individual counseling and workshops.
According to WSU’s Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, the average amount of loan debt for an undergraduate student is $18,815, and according to a 2009 Sallie Mae national study, students have an additional $4,000 in credit card debt. This is no surprise when 84 percent of undergraduates have at least one credit card, with the average number of credit cards being 4.6.
At WSU, 71.6 percent of students receive some form of financial aid, 55 percent receiving loans, not including private alternative loans or parent loans.
There is a need for more financial management education nationwide. In fact, 84 percent of undergraduates surveyed in the Sallie Mae study admitted the need for more financial management education.
WSU’s Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships requires that all first-time borrowers complete an entrance interview and, upon applying for graduation, students must complete the exit interview, either online or in person, in order to learn about their borrower rights and responsibilities.
The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships also provides individual counseling appointments for students to discuss their finances. Students are informed about borrowing wisely as soon as they come in to accept their first loan. The counselors will go over students’ budgets and help them lay out a plan to get through the semester or academic year.
WSU’s Wellbeing Program provides financial literacy workshops for students to gain control their finances. They provide workshops every semester that cover a variety of financial topics including budgets, credit cards, credit scores, purchasing a home and more.
The Wellbeing Program works in collaboration with the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships and EdFund, which is a non-profit state agency that provides loan and financial assistance education and services to students, to provide these workshops.
Wellbeing’s next financial management workshop will cover planning for major purchases. It will begin at 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 11 in CUE, Room 518. The workshop will include discussion of issues involved with making major purchases, for example how to buy a car or rent a house. In addition, it will cover borrowing money, advantages and disadvantages to leasing and when financing may be the best option.
The workshops are free and open to students, staff and faculty. Participants can register online at http://wellbeing.wsu.edu/ or they can simply show up at the event.
WSU’s Student Support Services Program also provides a series of financial literacy workshops for students who participate in TRiO, a federally-funded college academic assistance program. To qualify for TRiO, students must meet one of the following requirements: be a first generation college student, have financial need or have a documented disability.