Community Spotlight: Financial Aid Professionals Emphasize the Importance of Financial Literacy

By Tim Maggio, Community Manager

Financial Literacy Month, occurring annually in April, sheds light on the crucial role of education to empower individuals and communities to make informed financial choices. Financial aid offices across the country are taking action by offering dynamic workshops, providing valuable resources, and facilitating one-on-one counseling sessions to equip students with the knowledge and tools they need for effective money management.

“Financial literacy is a necessity in today’s world,” said NASFAA National Chair Brad Barnett, FAAC®, associate vice president for access and enrollment management/director of financial aid and scholarships at James Madison University. “Just as we learn other crucial life skills, we must learn to manage our money efficiently.

Cristen Alicea, FAAC®, director of financial assistance at the University of the Incarnate Word, said  her institution has integrated online financial literacy tools into first-year seminar courses. Professors use these tools to introduce students to financial concepts, and conduct pre- and post-tests to measure outcomes.

However, financial literacy is an area where more work can be done, said Jaime Missimer, FAAC®, assistant director of financial aid at Pearl River Community College.

“It's something that we have discussed and have plans to incorporate in the near future,” Missimer said. “I have given several presentations to groups of students regarding financial literacy.”

Michael Tjiong, a financial aid advisor at Cincinnati State College, agreed and acknowledged the challenges of broadening the conversation to financial literacy. “We have enough trouble promoting literacy on financial aid basics,” he said.

However, Tjiong highlights the positive impact of initiatives such as Cincinnati State’s Grad Finale, a pop-up event for graduating students to finalize outstanding institutional requirements. The financial aid staff collaborates with student activities to initiate conversations about financial aid steps with a focus on loan repayment and future academic plans.

For a full list of our member comments about financial literacy month, check out our Member-Generated Content Library and join NASFAA Communities for daily connections and conversations with financial aid professionals across the country.



Publication Date: 4/20/2023

Ben R | 4/20/2023 4:39:20 PM

We tell students “only borrow what you need” or “what you can afford”, but in the world of IDR, BDTR, PSLF and other means to cancellation, what does it mean to borrow or enroll responsibly, particularly at the graduate level where ANY amount is now affordable?

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