Focusing on Financial Literacy for Students

April is National Financial Capability Month. Decisions about paying for higher education can have lasting impact on individuals and our economy. In keeping with our ongoing efforts to increase financial literacy among college-bound and postsecondary students, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) is working with Treasury’s Financial Literacy and Education Commission (FLEC) to teach students how to save and manage money for their postsecondary education.

The Far-Reaching Impact of Financial Literacy

Financial literacy, which can be defined as an understanding of how to earn, manage, and invest money, has a critical impact on students’ ability to make smart choices about which institute of higher education to attend, what to study, how to pay for college, and how to manage student loan debt after graduation.

Students who are financially literate are better equipped than those who are not to make wise choices regarding school selection, what degrees to pursue, and how to pay for postsecondary education. The choices students make while in school often have a direct impact on their financial futures.

Secretary King at a recent FLEC meeting. (Photo: U.S. Department of Education)

Secretary King at a recent FLEC meeting. (Photo: U.S. Department of Education)

“The most expensive degree remains the one you don’t get,” Secretary John King, Jr., said at a recent FLEC meeting at the Treasury Department.

King pointed out that two of the biggest threats against students’ ability to manage their loan debt are:

  • not completing the degree program for which the loan debt was accrued
  • earning a degree that is not competitive in the twenty-first century

With this in mind, we emphasize college completion, in addition to college affordability and accessibility.

Getting the Word Out

To help students make wise decisions about higher education, our office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) offers several learning resources, including:

The FLEC webpage offers additional resources that focus on early college preparation, and links to its 2016 report on the state of financial education among postsecondary students titled, “Opportunities to Improve the Financial Capability and Financial Well-being of Postsecondary Students.” This report describes how important it is to build the financial capability of students to promote not only college access and completion, but also lifelong financial health. The report also includes the activities of a number of postsecondary institutions and other entities focused on helping students make critical financial decisions that can lead to economic security.

Be sure to check out the StudentAid.gov/resources and the FLEC webpage for more.

Elizabeth Coogan is a Senior Advisor in in Federal Student Aid’s Customer Experience Group. She is responsible for postsecondary financial literacy strategies and initiatives.

6 Comments

  1. Financial literacy is imitating because it helps you keep track of your money. Teens need this because it will help them learn how to manage your money and stay in school.

  2. This website is very informative and I am very glad that I came to this website. I like that this website tells us about offers from the FCA and gives other websites for more information.

  3. I learned that Financial literacy has a critical impact on students’ ability to make smart choices about which institute of higher education to attend

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