Vice Chair of the Academic Affairs and Student Life Committee and Student Trustee Peter Khoury discussed financial literacy at the Penn State Board of Trustees meeting, highlighting the need for this plan of action for students. Financial literacy, which can range from how to handle student loans to dealing with expenses at school, is becoming more of an apparent need for college students — especially at Penn State.
The Assistant Vice President for Undergraduate Education and Director for Student Aid Anna Griswold said 66 percent of graduating students left Penn State with student loan debt of an average of $35,101 while the national average is $26,600. And Khoury said he wants to spearhead an effort to help educate students on debt crisis with online modules for students, a marketing campaign and orientations for incoming students and parents. Though this is a positive step to be taking in the midst of high student debt, this doesn’t end the problem.
These programs are resourceful for students, but programs alone won’t ease the burdens on the students. The board needs to go beyond this program to make sure its decisions don’t add unnecessary financial strain to students’ bills. Their priorities shouldn’t necessarily relay back to a financial literacy marketing campaign, but instead working with the university officials on how to lower tuition, or at the very least, prevent tuition from rising. There needs to be a proactive effort process that feeds into helping students lower their student debt. But, the costs continue to be a burden, so these online modules and financial literacy classes will ultimately be beneficial.
We need the financial literacy program to be coupled with frugal financial decisions from the board.
Let’s implement these modules and classes in a timely matter.
A financial literacy initiative shouldn’t be the only answer to student gripes about tuition.
Though it’s encouraging to see the board taking these issues seriously, this is a problem that needs to be combated through lowering costs of higher education.
This is a problem that needs to be combated through initiatives that will decrease the financial burden on students and ease the strain on families.
Graduating almost $10,000 more in debt than the national average isn’t a statistic that Penn State, the board or the student government officials should be proud of.
A financial literacy class is a good stepping stone to shedding light on this issue, but this initiative goes far beyond that.