With the low rate of undergraduate financial literacy, Ithaca College offers personal finance workshops to help students understand interest rates, taxes, budgeting, and loans, among others.
Steven Novakovic, instructor in the Department of Finance and International Affairs, started the Personal finance clinic for students provide experience for students in the Wealth Management concentration at the School of Business and promote financial literacy. The clinic is from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday–Thursdays 5 pm to 7 pm Fridays and weekends 2 pm to 4 pm at Job 160. The clinic aims to help students budget, manage their student loans and plan for their financial future.
Novakovic said the benefit of having students running the clinic is that they can provide personal experiences to other students facing similar issues.
“It’s a place you can go and you can feel like you’re going to be able to talk to someone who has been in your place before because it’s [run] by the students, ”Novakovic said.
Novakovic stated that the current recession and rapid inflation – both of which have resulted in job losses, high exit rates and a declining value of the U.S. dollar – has increased the need for financial literacy, as understanding financial problems is key to solving them.
“One thing that is useful is just to track how you spend your money,” Novakovic said. “To just be aware of how you’re spending your money and to have the stats around you, let’s say ‘Is what I’m doing positioning myself to be successful or not?’ People may have this fear, but if they don’t know the numbers, it’s hard to tone it down.
Novakovic said this While most of the questions students have about personal finances relate to student loans, students are also interested in investing. While the clinic does not offer advice on specific equity investments, it can help students begin to set up a equity portfolio – a collection of investments that someone has, regardless of their knowledge.
According to a survey by the National Association for the Administration of Student Financial Aid, 60% of American students expect to take out loans to pay for their tuition fees. According to the same survey, 15% of students said they were confident in their ability to repay their debt in the future.
In addition, the United States reached a record high of $ 1.6 trillion in student debt in 2020, the average amount of student debt is $ 38,792.
Because of Covid-19 pandemic, students had to take out more loans and receive more institutional financial aid.
Catherine DeLessio senior has a shift in the finance clinic as part of her wealth management course. DeLessio said the clinic is a more expert resource for students to learn about how they can improve their financial situation.
“I think a lot of students would probably get their information from the Internet, and that can’t always be a reliable source,” DeLessio said. “I think meeting a student who has been learning all this in class for four years might be more helpful than using the internet. “
DeLessio said this being able to talk to other students can be a less stressful way to learn the complicated details of personal finance.
“I think it’s really important to have this kind of clinic because coming to students is more comfortable for a lot of people than looking for professors or experts and asking questions,” DeLassio said.
Novakovic said that because personal finance is not taught the same way as classes, seeking help at the clinic is the best alternative. He said that at present, few students have come forward to use the features of the clinic. However, Novakovic said the clinic will remain open and that he hopes to see more students take advantage of what it has to offer.
Senior Colin Shust said when Novakovic started the clinic it was with the intention of helping students outside of business school gain financial literacy.
“Steve introduced the sessions this year with the student body in Ithaca College in mind,” Shust said via email. “Going forward, I see the sessions continuing for many years to come, continuing to help students with any financial issues they may be facing.”