Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Financial literacy program to help students manage debt

College students often leave their families and homes with little knowledge about personal finance, but a new online program is being implemented to help students at The University of Alabama learn how to budget and plan for the future.

“Transit” is a new program that focuses on college students’ financial well-being. The program, entering a pilot status at the University, has been effectively implemented at Louisiana State University and Ohio State University. The all-online course takes at most 1 1/2 hours to complete. After successfully completing multiple modules, the student is presented with a certificate of completion 45 days after finishing.

Regions Bank, headquartered in Birmingham, funds the program, while software company EverFi is credited with designing it. The two companies work to provide all SEC schools with the program for a three-year period. The University has benefited from the partnership, as the program comes free of charge.

The University is working to determine the group of students that will be best served by completing the program. At LSU, freshmen in their second semester are targeted. At OSU, sophomore students are encouraged to complete the online course.

According to EverFi, financial pressures are one of the top three reasons a student will drop out of school, and the average college student graduates with $26,600 of debt. The Transit program works to alleviate the stress students experience when dealing with money.

Suzanne Henson, assistant director of health promotion and wellness in the College of Community Health Sciences, said she would love to see the program lead to the creation of other financial resources for UA students and faculty in the future.

“Ideally, I would like to see UA create a financial wellness center,” Henson said. “You can put in your budget and debt in a program and have an advisor go through it with you.”

Henson outlined a greater need for financial well-being nationwide. She said debt, combined with rising student loan interest rates, is worrisome for many students. For the time being, students are encouraged to contact the UA Counseling Center if financial strains are weighing them down.

Two hundred UA students have been selected for the pilot program. The pool of participants includes individuals from all areas of the University, including athletes, greek students and other student organization members. The wide pool of participants will help the University decide which students to target and when the program can be best implemented during a student’s four years at the Capstone.

The housing and residential communities are working on creating a partnership with the Transit program. Instead of creating a separate financial wellness program, housing and residential communities plans to use Transit for students living in the dormitories. Resident advisors will serve as point-of-contacts for students living on campus.

Cathy Bolling, the assistant director of finance for housing and residential communities, said she looks forward to the partnership between the Transit program and student housing.

“Our goal is to provide students with as much information as possible regarding personal financial management, credit, and debt,” Bolling said. “Financial decisions made during the college years will have a major impact on the student’s quality of life for many years after college. If we can provide information about best practices and help avoid some of the financial pitfalls that sometimes occur in college, we may be able to help the student in ways which have a major positive impact on their lives.”


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