Students can enhance financial literacy online

An online interactive program that teaches users about financial topics is now available for free to all Wartburg students, faculty and staff.

Financial Literacy 101 was presented this month by Wartburg College Strategic Initiatives.  Because the average college student in the United States graduates with over $4,000 in credit card debt, increasing students’ knowledge about monetary decisions was a concern for the college.

“It was considered a priority by President Colson to have more financial help for students,” Gloria Campbell, associate professor of business administration, said.

Instead of the college putting together more classes, anyone wanting to increase their financial literacy can just go to the website, she said.

The program features more than 80 modules on topics ranging from “Choosing a Bank” to “Repaying College Debt” and “Renting an Apartment.”  Each module includes text about the subject and may also have an audio recording.

Justin Crouse, associate professor of accounting, said the format is one of the reasons the program is so valuable.

“The program is all online, so anyone can look at the different topics.  It offers a self-paced environment that allows students, faculty and staff to explore the many different topics of financial literacy.”

Melissa Hageman found out about Financial Literacy 101 after her macroeconomics professor asked the class to go to the website and explore the different modules.

“It answers some questions I had about loans and other terms I was unsure about,” Hageman said.  “I think it can save college students from making some poor choices so they don’t end up paying more than they need to.”

The program also features several videos to reinforce the concepts of the text.  The topics covered include “How to Make a Personal Budget” and “Don’t Buy Stuff You Cannot Afford.”  One of the tools of the website is an interactive budget calculator.  It helps students develop a budget and gives tips on how to stick to it.

Although quizzes are available with some modules, Campbell said the real test will be whether students are able to apply the information to their own lives.

Crouse said raising awareness for financial topics is the point of the program.

“We want students to be aware that the choices they make now directly impact their debt for the future.  The goal is for students to at least know about these things.”

While business and accounting professors are incorporating Financial Literacy 101 into their classes, Crouse said the program is for all students, faculty and staff.  He said the financial topics are relevant to everyone, no matter what major or profession.

Those interested may sign up for Financial Literacy 101 by visiting and entering the access code WTBGFL.

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