Students concerned about how to pay for their off-campus apartment or how to manage credit card offers now have a new resource.
Student Registration and Financial Services recently began partnering with CashCourse, an online financial literacy platform designed to teach students how to manage their finances. CashCourse tackles topics from student loans and budgeting to taxes.
Through the partnership, Penn has its own page on CashCourse’s website. The site, run by the National Endowment for Financial Education, features fact sheets, videos and interactive pages, including an off-campus versus on-campus price calculator and a tool students can use to create a budget.
“I think it’s a really useful program,” said College senior Kathryn Brossa, a work-study student in SRFS. “It’s a bit overwhelming initially — just the sheer amount of things it deals with that I don’t even think about — but I know that it’ll be a useful tool to refer back to.”
CashCourse is the latest effort in SRFS’ financial literacy initiative, which already includes publications and information on its website about different aspects of making college affordable. SRFS hopes the new program will encourage students to make constructive financial choices both while they are at Penn and after they graduate, said Senior Director of the Student Financial Center Valerie Sandillo.
“Not only does CashCourse provide insight on managing student loans and paying for college, but also it addresses the range of additional money management issues that affect students’ overall financial lives, from using credit cards responsibly to finding a job and living on their own,” the National Endowment for Financial Education said in a press release. “The program teaches college students financial basics such as saving, investing, budgeting and debt in a way they can understand and appreciate.”
Sandillo cited a survey that revealed that while nearly 72 percent of parents acknowledged being their children’s primary source of financial education, 44 percent admitted to needing more guidance on how to teach the necessary skills.
“So there is this need out there,” Sandillo said. “Sometimes parents are too far removed from what it really is like to be at college.”
While CashCourse covers a wide range of topics that affect many college students, both Sandillo and Brossa acknowledged that the website could more effectively point to financial issues specific to Penn.
“It’s really general,” Brossa said. “There are a lot of links in it, but nothing that’s really going back to Penn.”
SRFS will begin to integrate the site with its presentations to student groups, and is considering publicizing it through a newsletter to all students, Sandillo said. Currently, students can access the website through a link at the top of their Penn InTouch page.
“It’s there 24/7,” Sandillo said. “If you have a question at 3 a.m. about applying for this credit card, you might check the site out before you do it.”