Investigating the Financial Literacy of College Students

Author: Jamie Obremski
Major: Business Administration
Approved: Spring 2019
Status: Completed

College can be a difficult transition for any student. Living on your own for the first time, deciding on a career path, the first-year college student will be challenged with a whole new world of responsibilities. One of the biggest challenges facing college students is overcoming a gap in understanding how to manage their personal finances and to take full responsibility for their decisions. For many students, freshman year is the first time they have control over their personal finances,but many clearly lack the experience and knowledge to make responsible financial decisions. This distinction project focuses on three aspects of a college student’s financial education: a literature review of key financial topics relevant to this age group, a survey of first year Roanoke College students that measures their financial literacy, or lack thereof, and a determination of some best practices to raise the knowledge level of students so they can be financially responsible. A brief educational module was administered in a one-hour block during the week of freshman orientation and once more ten weeks later at Roanoke College. To verify the value of this module, a survey was administered both pre- and post-session to compile data. The results indicate that schools, Roanoke College included,can positively impact incoming students by ensuring that they have the knowledge to prevent detrimental financial decisions in their college years that will impact them well into the future.The hope moving forward is that first-year students being introduced to topics and strategies needed to promote financial well-being later in life will become the norm across the nation.