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NASFAA Financial Literacy Webinar


NASFAA Financial Literacy Webinar

On February 12, 2020, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) Webinar Series presented a Financial Literacy webinar for the financial aid community.  This summary is provided as an attendee to the session.  There were two presenters:

Bryan Ashton, VP Community Investment & Government Affairs, Trellis Company and Advisory Managing Director of the Higher Education Financial Wellness Alliance; and

Phil Schuman, Director of Financial Literacy, Indiana University and Executive Director of the Higher Education Financial Wellness Alliance.

The webinar provided an overview of what Financial Literacy means in higher education, covering topics such as where Financial Literacy programs on campus often fall short as well as common misconceptions regarding financial literacy education.  Recommendations for providing Financial Wellness concepts to individuals (not just students on campus) included pointing out this means providing a full complement of wrap-around resources to students for planning and preparation and not just triaging financial troubles after decisions have already been made.

Campuses looking for recommendations and steps to create institutional support for a financial wellness programs will also find the discussion and slides worthwhile.  Bryan discussed how mental health, homelessness and food insecurities are critical financial strains which are often not considered.

Of particular value, if you are looking to implement or improve your campus programs, were the case studies from four institutions:

Indiana University (MoneySmarts)

University of Wisconsin La Crosse (It Make$ Cents)

Austin Community College

University of Minnesota Twin Cities

The Indiana University program was established over eight years ago and includes concepts such as a “Debt Letters” (now state law in 12 states) and cost calculators.  Because their program is relatively mature, they are able to discuss their priorities and concepts from a perspective of how effective their focus has been over time.  This information may not otherwise be available to institutions that have not had an established program on campus.

Each of the four case studies have also implemented their programs with a different reporting structure.  For example, the MoneySmarts program at IU reports to the Bursar while It Make$ Cents, at UWLAX, is a department within the Office of Financial Aid.  The Austin Community College program is a stand-alone program supporting their split-campus needs and the Twin Cities program is a sister unit to the Financial Aid office.  It was quite helpful to see how each program has been implemented within the different cultures on campus.

For more information on the webinar, the slides and the recording are available with appropriate credentials at the NASFAA Webinar Site.

For more information on the Higher Education Financial Wellness Alliance and their mission, consider their upcoming fourth annual Summit to be held July 19-21, 2020 at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Bryan Ashton & Phil Schuman: NASFAA’s Webinar Series, Financial Literacy, presented February 12, 2020