Students attend the University of Tampa for an education in their chosen career paths, yet many students don’t have all of the skills they will need in the “real world.” Rebecca Bauer, the Assistant Director of Assessment for Academic Services, has been partnering with departments and organizations at UT to promote financial literacy.
“There is a need across the country for all students to be educated about their finances, and the goal of the financial literacy initiative is to promote financial literacy across campus and assist all students in becoming financially literate,” Bauer said.
Bauer is working with Professor Bob Ruday, Dr. Christine Harrington and Dr. Walter Smith to help promote financial literacy on campus in the coming year. Dan Holahan, freshman and undeclared major, thinks increasing financial literacy on campus will help us in future endeavours.
“I think that it is absolutely vital. Bob Ruday is my professor in my financial literacy themed gateways,” Holahan said. “I personally feel that it’s essential to know for once we graduate. It’s a scary concept that our generation doesn’t know how to use tools that the government gives to us in life after college and retirement. It’s on us the individual to know how save for retirement, and the sad truth is that we’re already starting too late.”
Sophomore and new media productions major Thomas Stanley thinks understanding taxes are an essential part of becoming financially literate and it is something that students need to be able comprehend once leaving college.
“I could use more explanation on taxes; it’s always been a fear in the back of my head that I’m going to mess something up out of not knowing how to do it and end up in legal trouble,” said Stanley. “I personally have never been taught in a formal setting about those concepts, and I think it could certainly be useful to young adults as they transition into members of society.”
Bauer is also working with Dr. Edesa Scarborough and Dr. Catherine Chastain-Elliott to promote Financial Literacy Week, which will take place April 13-17. iIn Reeves Theater. Fifteen15 financial literacy presentations will be led by alumni, community agencies, faculty, and staff and student organizations. These presentations will educate students on topics such as student debt, managing credit cards, investing, facts they didn’t know about college and how to save $1 million tax-free.
This past fall, Bauer worked with the Gateways Program to help provide information on financial literacy for the incoming students who who were enrolled in Gateways and Pathways classes.
Some freshmen say they find this program beneficial for the Baccalaureate Experience. They aren’t just taking refresher courses, but they are learning skills that will help them follow their career path.
“I believe it’s important, because it’s something everyone is going to have to deal with,” said freshman and undecided major Rachel Curtis. “Considering a lot of us are completely reliant on parents now, we’re going to have to learn in the future anyway.”
“Instead of taking all the maths that we all struggle with that we’re not really learning anything with we should bring on a financial literacy course that helps teach us how to do taxes, manage money, and pay bills,” said Cal Edborg junior film and media arts major. “We’re not really learning anything we’re just trying to get through it.”
There is a Blackboard course (search course UT-Fin) that offers students a wide variety of resources to become financially literate. Students can learn about financial success, saving, investing and budgeting. The Blackboard course also provides quizzes, articles, videos and other tools.
“We want students to have the tools to learn more about their finances and how to manage their money responsibly,” Bauer said. “Students have time on their side, and that is a huge advantage to setting themselves on the path to financial freedom.”
Bauer has reached out to large organizations on campus to get their support in making our university more financially literate. Student Government supports increasing the education of financial literacy across UT’s campus.They will be sponsoring Peter Bielagus, a national financial literacy speaker, to be at UT all day Wednesday, April 15.
“It’s relatable. It’s something you can apply in real life. Teaching kids about financial literacy and how to use their money is something of value that Student Government truly supports,” said Student Government Campus Wide Senator Alexis Moretti. “In high school, we don’t learn about where we should invest our money, so it’s a great opportunity that UT helps us in that way.”
Khadijah Khan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org