Anyone who works with college students knows they can benefit from financial education. Many community colleges and universities offer a form of that to help with student success. It’s crucial for many students, especially those who are first-generation and low-income.
Usually, the employed staff is in charge of any financial programs at a university. But what if there was another way? It turns out there is. It might transform financial wellness programs across the United States.
One university, Pennsylvania University, has come up with a new way to spread financial literacy across the campus.1 The answer is student ambassadors. After all, who knows the life of a college student better than someone who is one?
Students are more likely to trust those who are similar to them. It makes the student ambassador program an excellent way to share information. College students can be the larger voices to let students connect with the financial education they may be lacking.
How Does Financial Literacy Led By College Students Work?
UPenn isn’t the only university where financial literacy education is provided by students. South Carolina State University does the same thing. The program focuses on peer-to-peer education that helps students address their needs.2
Students watch presentations about things like budgeting, financial goals, and credit management. A study looked at students tested before and after these presentations, they all improved their financial knowledge in the process.
While this is a single study, it shows that this is worth considering. It might be an effective way to promote financial literacy among college students. In addition, it can be added to other approaches already available, such as workshops and lectures.
There’s also the Student Ambassador Program, which twelve historically Black universities participate in.3 Ambassadors, many of whom are interested in finance, lead workshops throughout campus. Topics range from credit management and student loans to savings, and more.
When 70% of students have financial worries, something needs to be done.4 Teaching holistic financial wellness to college students could be the right answer, and having students do the teaching can save time and money while making sure the message lands.
Benefits of Student Ambassadors for Financial Literacy
There are several benefits to having students offer financial literacy to their peers. We already touched on the first one: most college students are more likely to pay attention and take the content seriously when it comes from fellow students.
Here are some others:
- The ambassadors themselves also benefit from this kind of work. It provides financial knowledge, lets students act as leaders, and give them public speaking experience. With the right oversight and resources, it can make a difference at any college.
- College students get the same information that would be provided by financial professionals. It's just more accessible and appealing in this format.
- Every university can build its own ideal financial literacy program. Ambassadors can be hand-picked to ensure the best results. Selecting students that represent their peers on campus is a great option. Everyone feels comfortable speaking with one of the team members.
Solutions to Assist with Student Ambassador Programs
Financial education and training takes time and costs money. Usually, someone needs to be there to help them through the subject. However, there are ways to make things a bit more streamlined if you want financial education ambassadors.
Creating a way for students to apply for the project is a good first step. Advertise the need for student ambassadors around campus. Add it to the university website along with an application.
iGrad, a financial literacy platform for higher education, can also play a part in the process. It comes with a ton of tools and courses that can be used to teach ambassadors as well as other students. It was named Education Program of the Year by the Institute for Financial Literacy in 2013 and 2015.
Another major draw of the program for college students is the video-based entrance and exit counseling. It’s compliant with the Department of Education and offers real-time reporting. The software is also fully customizable for your college.
The literacy program itself was listed as a top product in University Business Magazine in 2012, 2013, and 2014. It’s used by well over a million students and more than 600 schools. It’s set up for you but you can make changes to fit your needs.
When you combine all these features, they can be used for and by student ambassadors. Teach ambassadors about the things other college students need to know. That can be passed on by peers to make an impact on campus.
It might take time to create the right program. However, iGrad can help with a lot of the nuances. All you need to do is sign up, customize, and use the platform.
Financial education is important for students. It should go beyond student loan counseling or basic information on debt. College students deserve holistic financial knowledge.
With student ambassadors, college students can assist their peers. This could change their thoughts and behavior around money.
Instituting a financial wellness program like iGrad works perfectly with this change. It’s completely customizable, has an award-winning curriculum, and can be integrated into university sites. It could be the perfect way to increase financial literacy at your school.
1 - https://penntoday.upenn.edu/news/student-financial-ambassadors-promote-financial-wellness
2 - https://www.researchgate.net/publication/340850063_Evaluating_Financial_Literacy_Student_Ambassador_Program_A_Student-led_Approach_to_Promoting_Financial_Literacy
3 - https://stories.wf.com/financial-health-is-foundational-to-everything-we-do-with-hbcus/
4 - https://news.osu.edu/70-percent-of-college-students-stressed-about-finances/