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Exploring Finance Resources on College Campuses

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Jan Combs

Written by Jan Combson May 9th, 2023

I came to College Coach with nearly 30 years of related professional experiences. As a director of financial aid at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, I determined student financial aid eligibility, oversaw a number of scholarship and fellowship programs, and worked closely with students to guide them through the financial aid application process and the many steps to enrollment. As an account executive at two national lenders, I worked closely with students and advised them on financial literacy related best practices as well as student loan repayment options and strategies. More recently as a high school guidance counselor, I assisted a diverse group of students with their college admission, financial aid, and scholarship applications. Supporting students and their families through each of those overwhelming processes was very rewarding. I was able to offer valuable assistance to students throughout the entire process, as well as guide them when making their final decisions as to where to attend college and how they would cover the college bill. Currently, I serve as a seminar facilitator for the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA), assisting families with both the college admissions process as well as the college financing process.
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by Jan Combs, former financial aid officer at Harvard Graduate School of Education The importance of financial literacy education can’t be understated and yet many young adults are not exposed to these topics during their high school years. Often, the courses aren’t offered by the student’s high school or if they are, the student simply don’t have room to include another course in their already packed schedule. Fortunately, many colleges have implemented robust financial literacy programs to support students’ personal finance education. Staff and peer tutors offer sessions in budgeting, credit card management, and loan repayment. Colleges are engaging students in creative ways, to help them develop strong financial management skills. Many colleges have an established financial literacy program – so check in with the Financial Aid Office, the Career Services Office, or the Student Affairs Office to explore available program offerings. The financial literacy offerings vary and many are available as soon as the student enrolls. Here are a few examples of financial wellness programs on campuses: The Student Financial Wellness Program at Boston College offers financial workshops each year on a variety of topics. Additionally, students can meet with peer money mentors for one-on-one counseling sessions. BC’s website is also full of resources related to saving, building credit and budgeting. The University of Kansas offers a financial literacy program via their Student Money Management Services (SMMS). Included in the program is one-on-one counseling, on-campus personal finance workshops and access to Financial Aid TV with short videos on a variety of financial aid topics. The University of Indiana – Bloomington offers MoneySmarts, a program that provides students with curriculum on a range of personal finance topics. Their professional staff is available for one-on-one consultations and group presentations. The Mind Over Money Literacy Program at Stanford University features financial coaching sessions, interactive money management and budgeting tools, financial literacy modules offering academic credit, and other online resources. The Student Money Management Center at the University of North Texas provides coaching, educational events, and even has their own financial literacy podcast, Mean Green Family Live, that discusses different subjects related to personal finance and gaining independence. At Bright Horizons College Coach, we are big fans of financial literacy and encourage students to take advantage of these programs. Understanding finances is empowering and helps students make good life-long financial decisions.

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