Many young adults in the United States lack an understanding of their personal finances because it is often not taught at any education level from middle school through college.
But, there are colleges and universities around the country that have implemented robust financial literacy programs and coursework so that their students know how to balance a budget, apply for a credit card, or invest in the stock market when they leave campus.
With so many young Americans saddled with student loan debt that will make handling their finances even more difficult, it is more important now than ever before for colleges to give students the confidence to make educated financial decisions.
For the fourth consecutive year, LendEDU has recognized the higher education institutions that have created the 50 best financial literacy programs in the nation.
The colleges and their respective financial literacy programs that you will find below are LendEDU’s choices for the best 50 out of hundreds of programs analyzed on the following attributes:
- The number of workshops and resources available
- Access to one-on-one financial consultation
- Incentivizing programs available (e.g., scholarships for attending workshops)
The 50 Best College Financial Literacy Programs for 2020
You can see the 50 colleges and universities that were recognized this year for their financial literacy programs by clicking through the slideshow below or by checking out the table underneath.
Note: The higher education institutions are placed in alphabetical order and are not ranked amongst each other.
Full List of Schools With Top 50 Financial Literacy Programs
|Arkansas State University
|Bowling Green State University
|California State University, Northridge
|George Washington University
|Indiana University Bloomington
|Kansas State University
|Kennesaw State University
|Loyola University Chicago
|New Jersey Institute of Technology
|New York University
|North Central College
|Pennsylvania State University
|Saint Mary’s College
|Sam Houston State University
|Southern Connecticut State University
|State University of New York at Binghamton
|Texas State University
|Texas Tech University
|The Ohio State University
|University of Arizona
|University of California, Davis
|University of California, Los Angeles
|University of Central Florida
|University of Cincinnati
|University of Colorado Denver
|University of Georgia
|University of Iowa
|University of Kansas
|University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
|University of Missouri
|University of Montana
|University of New Mexico
|University of North Texas
|University of Pittsburgh
|University of South Carolina
|University of South Florida
|University of West Florida
|University of Wisconsin–Madison
|Western Michigan University
LendEDU’s study of the 50 Best College Financial Literacy Programs for 2020 was conducted by looking at hundreds of colleges and universities in the United States that have a financial literacy program and comparing them against each other. The rankings were based on three specifications:
- The number of workshops and resources available.
- Access to one-on-one financial consultation.
- Incentivizing programs available (e.g., scholarships for attending workshops).
A More Detailed Description of Each Specification:
The number of workshops and resources available: This is considered our most important category. Each school’s financial literacy website was examined to see how many workshops and presentations were available throughout the academic year for students and the whole year for the community. Resources were also examined, such as programs like iGrad, SALT, and CashCourse, in addition to financial tools, recorded presentations, and interactive guides.
Access to one-on-one financial consultation: This is considered our second most important category. Each school’s financial literacy website was examined to see how accessible it is for students to meet with a financial expert, whether it be a peer or a professional, to receive financial education consultations. The number of experts and the hours available for students were strongly considered. Also, the level of expertise and industry experience of mentors was taken into account. For peer mentors, what major they were required to be in order to become a peer mentor was factored in.
Incentivizing programs available: This was the least important category. Each school’s website was examined to see how many incentivizing programs were available to the students. An incentivizing program was something that encouraged the student body to practice financial literacy. Examples include possible scholarships for attending events, cash prizes, the requirement to take the program, etc.
How to Pay For College & Manage Your Student Loans
Paying for college and managing your student loan debt is one of the most crucial topics when it comes to financial literacy. With the cost of college at record-highs, students must compare all of their options and also learn how to effectively pay off their student loans fast.
LendEDU offers a few suggestions below.
Explore All of Your Options
It’s imperative for any college student to consider all available options when figuring out how to pay for college. The first thing should be applying for as many scholarships as possible because there are a lot out there. LendEDU even offers our own scholarship, which can be applied for here.
If there are still gaps left to be filled, students can then shop around for private student loans. Private student loans typically come with a higher student loan interest rate but are sometimes necessary to cover college costs completely. A few common private student loan lenders include College Ave, Citizens Bank, and Earnest.
See If Your Parents Can Help
It’s not a bad idea to ask your parents for some financial help when it comes to affording the high price of college. If you are fortunate enough, they may just be able to cover some of the cost out of their own pocket.
If not, there are a variety of parent student loans out there for your parents to consider, including a Federal Parent PLUS Loan or a parent student loan from College Ave. Most of the time, your parent will be on the hook for repaying this type of student loan, but you can also refinance parent PLUS loans to hopefully receive a lower interest rate or transfer the loan to you.
Consider Refinancing Eventually
After you graduate college, land a job, and begin repaying your student loan debt, it’s never a bad idea to look into student loan refinancing to ideally receive a lower interest rate or more favorable repayment terms.
You can pretty much refinance any type of student loan, including one from Sallie Mae, and you can also refinance your student loans more than once if you think that an even better interest rate is possible. ELFI is one well-known student loan refinance lender that you might want to look into if you are exploring this route.
See more of LendEDU’s Research here.