Financial literacy is a topic that doesn’t get a lot of air time in the high school sector, and depending on the upbringing of the student, may not have been addressed much at home either.

In fact, a survey conducted in 2019 [1] confirmed that most college students are ill-prepared to navigate the financial world into which they are thrust shortly after their 18th birthdays.

It is not only wise for colleges and universities to offer financial workshops to their students, it may very well be one of the most necessary components of their education and growth.

Taking time and effort to educate students about the following key topics can help remedy this problem and raise a generation of financially literate adults.

1.    What is financial literacy and why is it important?

No matter the age, young and old adults alike have a hard time learning something unless they understand and internalize the significance of the information and how it can best serve them long-term. 

Setting aside time to define financial literacy, the topics that will be covered, and the importance of becoming financially fluent in their personal lives will help create focus and set the tone for the workshop. 

2.    Creating a budget and saving money

Creating a budget is easier said than done.

The ins and outs of what to include, how to break down income and bills, and tips about being diligent in its implementation are all facets of planning that don’t come easily to most college students.

Add in the self-discipline in creating a “save” budget line, and it’s clear that most young adults could use some guidance and education in this area.

3.    Credit lines and management

Credit is available everywhere and in a variety of capacities.

Learning how to build credit using a credit card, understanding the limitations of store credit cards [2], and developing a plan based on the knowledge gained are all facets of financial education that should not go unexplored.

Frankly, college students are notorious for being a bit ignorant in this area. Keeping credit education on the docket will help your students both in the short and long term.

4.    Investing and stocks

This particular subject will vary in its appeal to college students. Every workshop will have a percentage of students who thrive on this type of knowledge, and still others will yawn and wonder how it applies to them.

As this subject is broached, it is helpful to emphasize that basic knowledge about investments is that which serves them, not only in a financial sense, but also in a networking one.

Being able to track with and understand conversations about the stock market, even if they never plan to step foot on Wall Street, will help build confidence when the time comes to network and start a career. 

5.    Understanding financial aid and student loans

While it may be argued that students ought to understand this aspect of college before showing up on the first day of class, the fact is most do not.

In fact, only one in three students procuring loans understand the financial terms associated with them.

Students who navigate and graduate college with base knowledge about their loans, financial aid, and how to repay what was borrowed will be light years ahead of those who graduate without this knowledge. 

6.    Common financial mistakes college students make

The truth is, people love stories and often learn more from them than a lecture designed to do the same.

Highlighting common financial mistakes made by college students will be eye opening for many, and even more so when told in story form [3].

Learning from the mistakes of others is a lot easier than learning from our own and will introduce a more relaxed topic to a workshop that is likely to be a little heady. 

7.    Financial goal setting

Students everywhere are encouraged to set goals and reach them, and financial goals definitely ought to make this list.

Providing direction about reasonable goals, setting benchmarks, and habit training will all aid students as they work toward a life of financial literacy and stability.

8.    Debt management

While debt is often seen in a negative light, the fact is most of us will incur debt as we get older, and this isn’t all bad.

Buying a home or a car, for example, are both debt-incurring expenses that are often desirable or even necessary.

Quality education about debt management and consolidation will help students as they begin to make decisions about big purchases.

9.    Making the most of employment while on break

This is a topic that shouldn’t take a ton of real estate in workshop time blocks, but is definitely worth exploring.

Most college students have to work while in school, and learning how to capitalize on seasonal jobs that allow them to make money while not in school will help with both budgeting and scholarly success. 

10.   Learning to socialize on a dime

If the current pandemic has taught us anything, it is that young people will congregate and seek out ways to socialize no matter the roadblocks.

Teaching young adults how to make wise financial decisions with regard to dating and other social activities will help them feel confident about the fun they choose and lessen the stress that comes from eating out one too many times the week rent is due. 

Financial knowledge and independence are things for which many adults still strive long after their graduation day.

Creating a financial literacy workshop experience that is engaging and informative will set your students up for success in a way that places them ahead of many adults twice their age.

While a workshop in financial literacy wasn’t likely on their to-do list, those in attendance will no doubt be thankful and more equipped for whatever comes next.



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