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Personal Finance Reports

The 50 Best College Financial Literacy Programs for 2020

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
Babson College
Boston College
Bowling Green State University
California State University, Northridge
Champlain College
Creighton University
Duke University
Eastern University
George Washington University
Harvard University
Indiana University Bloomington
Kansas State University
Kennesaw State University
Liberty 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
Stanford University
State University of New York at Binghamton
Syracuse University
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
Yale University
Note: The higher education institutions above are placed in alphabetical order and are not ranked amongst each other.


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.

Next, students should fill out the FAFSA, which will determine their eligibility for grants, financial aid, work-study programs, and federal student loans.

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.