College Students Have Courses on Nutrition -Why Not Personal Finance?

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Educating College Students about Credit

By Guest Blogger: Heather Johnson

Many students are emerging from college with a substantial amount of credit card and student loan debt. In fact, nearly two-thirds of all four-year college graduates have student loans and 39 percent of those students find this debt unmanageable. This is compounded by the fact that credit card companies have no qualms about offering high-interest cards to students with no credit history and no viable means to pay back their debt. Clearly, something must be done about this issue.

The student credit crisis has become such a rising problem that public interest groups such as Student Debt Alert have started to fight back. With the national student debt now in the trillions, such third-party organizations are pleading with the Department of Education to make some procedural changes. However, it would seem that credit education could have the largest impact. Many students have no idea what they are getting into with many student loan programs and credit card agreements.

It is in the best interest of universities to emphasize credit education amongst students. Although many financial aid programs require a short entrance and exit quiz, this is obviously not making a large impact on students. I can personally attest that I never spoke with a financial aid officer at my university, despite the fact that I was awarded substantial loans and grants. In short, it was up to me to figure out how the system worked.

Some university representatives are becoming proactive with this issue, sponsoring programs like The California Student Debt Resource and Awareness Project (CASDRAP). If undergraduates were better prepared for the reality of debt management, the economy would surely benefit as a whole. In fact, it pays to educate students even earlier - perhaps in grade school. The U.S. Treasury actually has a children's site that educates grade school students on money and the economy.

It is vital that universities begin to take responsibility for their graduating students' knowledge of credit management. If anything, the schools should be motivated to do so in order to be repaid the loans they are awarding. Regardless, a mandatory course in money management is a smart idea. The university I attended required all students to complete a course in nutrition, so why not personal finance?

Contributed by guest blogger Heather Johnson who regularly writes on the topic of top online universities.

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