Money management made simple
For freshman Sarah Allen every cent counts. The 18-year-old nursing student holds down part-time jobs at Sea World and Gold’s Gym to pay for her school expenses as well as her other financial responsibilities, like her car and insurance.
“I did take out a student loan and I’ll have to pay that back all on my own too,” Allen said.
So when she heard about Rowdy Cents–a program that teaches students money management techniques and financial literacy–she knew she had to check it out.
Research shows that money and the need to work are the top two reasons people can’t finish their higher education.
Erika Cox, director of student enrollment services, said the program covers an assortment of topics including paying back student loans, finding free activities on campus for entertainment, creating a budget and the implications of credit.
“What we’re trying to do is educate students more about, ‘You need to think about the money you’re taking out now and the fact you are going to be paying it back one day,’” Cox said. “The ultimate goal is to teach students how to manage their finances.”
The Rowdy Cents website began as part of the UTSA Graduation Initiative, and Cox said she and her team have built on that foundation since taking over the program in fall 2012. They are experimenting with social media to help get the word out to students about the various services offered.
“We’re in the infancy stage of the program,” Cox said. “[We] started really small with doing different classes, some on credit basics, others on how to do a spending plan; writing a good scholarship essay is another one. Slowly but surely we’re trying to do more with it.”
A challenge is getting students “to be excited about money,” she said, adding that program organizers have gone to freshman seminars, set up a Facebook page and touted the free classes and workshops online.
The program received a financial boost from the UTSA Student Affairs Transformation Fund and the Family Association’s Family Fund, with the money used to create Rowdy Cents brochures and expand the visibility of the service, Cox said.
For Allen, the advice has been invaluable. She said most of her friends don’t pay for their own school expenses, so it was eyeopening for some to realize that managing money is important for all students.
The program has already helped, she said.
“I don’t think I would have been able to save as much money as I have if I didn’t go to that meeting,” she said. “I would definitely recommend it to everybody.”
Web Extra: For more information about this service for UTSA students, go to www.utsa.edu/moneymatters.