Program helps students with personal finances
By Liz McCarthy, 803-777-2848
For many students, college is a time to make new friends, find a career path and discover interests and passions. It also can be a difficult time for managing money and staying financially stable. One out of three college students experience financial stress each year. But the University of South Carolina’s Student Success Center helps Gamecocks keep that financial stress in check with its Financial Literacy Program.
Program coordinator Jen Skidmore details what makes the program important and how it can help students be more successful at USC.
Can you tell us a little about the Financial Literacy Program?
The Financial Literacy Program provides free and confidential one-on-one financial education consultations to all USC undergraduate students. Students can meet with a trained peer educator — a student who is in their shoes who knows the daily challenges they face — or certified program staff to get help on any financial topic like budgeting, managing credit and student loans, just to name a few.
What is the goal of the program?
Simply, we exist to help students achieve their goals. College is a huge investment. Every student is different and will have different academic and personal goals, so we try to help students see the financial implications of their decisions. For example, should a student take an unpaid internship at a premier company or work in retail for a summer job instead? We’re here as a guide and resource for students; it’s up to them to create the experience they want.
It’s also our goal to ensure students graduate and manage their money well beyond college. We are giving students tools they will use their entire lives, all the way through planning for retirement.
Why is it important for students today to learn about these kinds of financial issues?
There is more than $1 trillion outstanding in student loan debt nationally. Students feel the strain of the increasing cost of attending college and they are borrowing more than ever. Even students who don’t borrow loans encounter new financial responsibilities and increased costs each year. The Financial Literacy Program helps them prepare for the uncertain job market and ever-changing economy that awaits them after graduation.
The program also offers a short-term emergency loan to students who are facing an
unexpected financial crisis while enrolled at USC. Learn more online.
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