Financial literacy is an increasingly concerning issue among the Millennial generation. The National Financial Educators Council (NFEC) defines financial literacy as: “Possessing the skills and knowledge on financial matters to confidently take effective action that best fulfills an individual’s personal, family and global community goals.”
Educational focus on these essential life skills and decision-making techniques has, somewhere along the way, fallen behind. However, with tuition costs reaching record highs and tens of millions bogged down by student loan debt, these neglected financial lessons are more necessary than ever.
According to the most recent statistics, total outstanding student loan debt in America has topped $1.45 trillion. There are more than 45 million student loan borrows in the United States with an average debt per borrower of $27,975. With 60% of college graduates in debt due to student loans, it is becoming increasingly clear that information, education, and guidance in financial decision-making is absolutely needed.
Studies by LendEDU have uncovered clear misconceptions and falsities about personal finance that young adults believe. The reality of the situation is that if adequate financial literacy is not achieved by students and borrowers alike, then many will have to compromise on their future personal, family and global community goals as a result of unexpected financial constraints.
For the second year in a row, LendEDU has carefully compiled a list of the Top 50 Financial Literacy Programs offered at colleges and universities across the United States. Due to rising tuition costs and increasing student loan default rates, the demand for an emphasis on financial literacy is being addressed.
We set out to identify the institutions that are going above and beyond to promote financial wellness, in addition to providing their students and communities with the resources, workshops, and advisors needed to achieve it.
Our study looked at hundreds of colleges and universities that are known to have a financial literacy program. Our rankings were based on 3 parameters: (1) Number of Workshops and Resources Available; (2) Access to One-On-One Financial Consultation; (3) Incentivizing Programs Available.
Each parameter was graded on a 50-point scale (50 being the best) and that number was multiplied by each parameter’s respective weight. The weights for the previously mentioned parameters were, 50%, 30%, and 20%, respectively. The total score was tallied on a 50-point scale by adding together each parameter’s weighted score. A full methodology can be found at the bottom of this page.
Top 50 Financial Literacy Programs of 2018
1. Texas Tech University
Total Score: 48.8
For the second year in a row Texas Tech University is home to the best college financial literacy program in the country according to LendEDU. Texas Tech’s financial literacy program, Red to Black Peer Financial Coaching, provides individual coaching sessions as well as group presentations on topics which include creating spending plans, the importance of early saving methods, how to maximize financial aid, managing student loans, and using credit. Texas Tech does not stop there. The university also hosts “America Saves Week” which features numerous financial literacy workshops alongside the Raider Relief Fund, which offers financial assistance to qualified applicants for living and other educational expenses.
2. Syracuse University
Total Score: 48.1
Taking the number two spot on this year’s list is Syracuse University. The Syracuse Smart Money program serves as a comprehensive guide for students to learn how to take control of their finances. The program is made up of three components: (1) replaces student loans with grant funding; (2) requires each participating student to complete a financial literacy session every semester; (3) students must submit a M.A.P certification every semester answering general financial questions and setting goals for the upcoming semester. Students at Syracuse are also provided with the opportunity to join the exclusive group of peer financial literacy coaches whose goals are to provide education, information, and strategies to fellow students searching for assistance.
3. University of North Texas
Total Score: 47.6
The University of North Texas wraps up the top three thanks to its high-quality Student Money Management Center. According to the UNT website, the center “helps students learn how to manage the financial realities that they will face as students and graduates by offering countless on-campus and online educational opportunities each semester.” The Money Management Center focuses on relevant and pressing financial concerns that pertain to the students’ lives by providing personal financial coaching lessons in which the students themselves lead the discussion.
4. University of Montana
Total Score: 45.8
The University of Montana was able to hold on to the number four spot for the second year in a row due to the fact that it is one of just a handful of schools that actually requires financial literacy education for its students. A UM student is familiar with this statement found on the school’s website, “All students are required to complete Transit, an online interactive course designed to help students take control of their financial futures.” Specifically, the course covers topics, such as: Student Loan Default Prevention; Savings and banking; Credit Cards; Investing; 401ks; Mortgages; and more. During a time when financial literacy is becoming an increasing issue among younger generations, the University of Montana has earned a top spot on our list by being proactive.
5. Sam Houston State University
Total Score: 45.5
Clinching a spot in the top five this year is Sam Houston State University. In February of 2017, the school’s Student Money Management Center hosted its 8th Annual Financial Literacy Week which featured several guest speakers and included presentations that aimed to teach students about managing money, creative ways to save, debt and credit, how to become financially secure, and more. The university even offers a $500 scholarship to students who score well on a financial literacy quiz. On top of that, the school provides the opportunity for students to win $1,000 in a financial literacy themed jeopardy game. Sam Houston State University is not just offering education, but it is creatively enticing its students to learn these necessary life skills.
6. George Washington University
Total Score: 45.3
George Washington University claims the sixth spot on our list. The GFLEC, which stands for Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center, claims that its mission is to be the world’s leading center for financial literacy and policy. According to GW Business, “GFLEC builds on more than ten years of academic research by Dr. Annamaria Lusardi, an early contributor to financial literacy as a field of study.” This center conducts seminars that are open to students as well as members of the public. According to the GFLEC website, “A joint initiative of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and GFLEC bring together academics, practitioners, policy makers, and other experts to present and discuss cutting-edge research on financial literacy.”
7. Ohio State University
Total Score: 45.2
Coming in at the highly coveted number seven spot is the Ohio State University, which earns its rank by being another one of the few schools that require students to complete a financial literacy program. The Second-Year Transformational Experience Program (STEP) includes a two-part financial wellness program. A more detailed description found on the school’s website breaks it down: “The first part will be the completion of an online module that guides students through fundamental financial concepts, including (but not limited to) financial goal setting, budgeting, interest rates, loan basics, repayment options and an overview of personal credit. The second part of the financial wellness requirement will consist of each STEP participant engaging in an individual, face-to-face one-hour session with a trained financial wellness coach.” Ohio State aims to educate, inform, and assist its students with their individual financial situations.
8. Yale University
Total Score: 45.0
Yale seizes the number eight spot on our Top 50 Financial Literacy Programs list. For the second year in a row Yale ranks the highest of all other Ivy League schools on the list. The Career Option Assistance Program (COAP) provides financial assistance for university graduates who choose lower paying career paths. On average, 45 percent of all students who have student loan debt join the program. In addition to financial assistance, Yale provides individualized counseling sessions for students to discuss specific financial situations. Another focus of the university according to their website, is to spark conversation on financial literacy “by proactively building relationships with students and alumni in everything they do.”
9. Boston College
Total Score: 44.5
Boston College cracks the top 10 by taking the number nine spot on LendEDU’s list. In September of 2009, just after the Financial Crisis and market crash of 2008, BC received funding to launch its Center for Financial Literacy (CFL). According to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, “The CFL’s mission is to produce educational materials and programs that help people make reasonable financial decisions throughout their working lives and into retirement.” Boston College also has a high quality financial literacy program called “Successful Start” which provides an expansive workshop schedule.
10. Tufts University
Total Score: 44.3
Capping off the top ten this year on this year's list is none other than Tufts University. Tufts “Planning for $uccess Financial Literacy Program” works to educate students in greater detail than the broader basics of financial literacy. The program focuses heavily on topics, such as credit budgeting, identity theft prevention, and buying a home. The program also provides students with the opportunity to meet with third party experts in the relevant fields who can convey their personal knowledge and experiences to further the educational impact.
11. Bowling Green State University
Total Score: 44.1
Bowling Green State University comes in at number 11 on this year’s Top 50 Financial Literacy Programs list. BGSU has established a valuable partnership with PNC Bank to provide financial literacy resources and workshops for its students. The university offers numerous free-of-cost financial education resources ranging from seminars and individual sessions to an extensive online Money Management Module. In addition, BGSU is hosting its annual “Literacy in the Park” event on April 21, 2018, and this year the focus has been expanded to include financial literacy.
12. Indiana University
Total Score: 43.9
Indiana University and its exemplary financial literacy program called “MoneySmarts” comes in at number 12 on our list this year. Since it was established in 2012, this program has played a key role in the $112.8 million reduction in student borrowing or 17% decrease in student borrowing across all IU campuses. MoneySmarts provides students with perhaps the most extensive collection of online resources of any program on this list. The website has informative videos, podcasts, and articles that were created to educate students on everything from savings and investments to affording their social lives. If that isn’t enough, the MoneySmarts Team is available for scheduled appointments to advise and assist students in making specific budgets that they can follow.
13. University of Kansas
Total Score: 43.8
Coming in at an exceptional number 13 on our list is the University of Kansas. The university is home to Student Money Management Services ($MM$), which according to the website, “focuses on ‘The Five Pillars’ of student personal finance: (1) Income and Financial Aid; (2) Checking and Savings; (3) Cash Management; (4) Credit Cards; (5) Credit History.” With useful links and videos, confidential and individualized education by student representatives, and other additional resources, the University of Kansas empowers its students and helps to improve their financial situations.
14. Georgetown University
Total Score: 43.7
Ranking in the 14th slot on our list is Georgetown University and its impressive “Common $ence” program. On the Common $ense website students can find a plethora of resources covering topics, such as saving and investing, credit and debt, budgeting, personal finance, and financial aid. Perhaps the most interesting feature of this website is the “Saving Money at Georgetown” tab which can be used to direct students to numerous pages that detail ways in which they can save money on common expenses, such as travel, entertainment, shopping, food, housing, and other activities.
15. Pennsylvania State University
Total Score: 43.6
Ranking 15th on this year’s list is Pennsylvania State University. Penn States’ Financial Literacy & Wellness Center offers a remarkable amount of resources. It also allows students to request a financial literacy session, request a personal meeting with a professional, or consult a financial literacy ambassador. In addition, the school’s 2018 schedule is already set to host at least one financial literacy webinar event each month from January through July. LendEDU is not the first to recognize PSU’s high-quality work in promoting financial wellness. Just this past March, Penn State’s financial literacy director, Daad Rizk, was the recipient of the Institute for Financial Literacy’s 2017 Educator of the Year Award. Rizk is responsible for launching a financial literacy program called “MoneyCounts” which provides students with workshops and webinars that cover topics, such as budgeting, credit, debt management, student loans, and repayment strategies.
16. Liberty University
Total Score: 43.5
Liberty University jumps to the 16th spot on this year’s list thanks to its free-of-cost financial literacy course (FNLT 101) that is provided to the university in collaboration with The Lampo Group, which was founded by a personal finance expert and New York Times #1 Best-Selling Author, Dave Ramsey. This course, which is available to every Liberty student, covers important topics, such as the Properties of Money and Wealth, Saving, Budgeting, Debt, College Essentials, and Career Planning. The high level of expertise that Liberty’s financial literacy course offers earns it a top spot on our list.
17. Creighton University
Total Score: 43.4
Landing the number 17th rank on our break down is Creighton University. The university surveyed 1000 students to ask the question, “How would you describe your financial health?”. Using a creative analogical approach, the survey results showed that 46% of participants believed themselves to be “a little flabby” in terms of financial health. To assist students in achieving the “I’m in good shape” result, Creighton’s website offers a vast array of financial literacy resources, such as “Achieve Financial Success,” “Budgeting 101,” “Live Life Smart Guide,” and dozens more.
18. University of Delaware
Total Score: 43.3
Cracking the Top 20 and clinching the 18th spot on LendEDU’s Top 50 Financial Literacy Programs list is the University of Delaware. A recent gift by UD alumna and senior vice president for Fidelity Investments, Donna Fontana, is expected to impact more than 700 teachers and 80,000 students in Delaware. The donation to the Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship (CEEE) will establish the Fontana Financial Literacy Fund which will work to develop new courses, resources, programs, and a state-wide competition focused on personal finance. Respected academics and financial industry experts are at the forefront of this endeavor to improve financial literacy not just at the University of Delaware, but across the entire state.
19. Cornell University
Total Score: 43.2
Cornell University earns its spot as the second highest ranked Ivy League school to make our list. According to their website, The Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Albany “strives to help individuals and families improve basic financial management skills to create improved financial futures and better access to community resources and programs.” In order to achieve this mission, the program offers a staggering number of financial literacy workshops that cover a variety of topics, ranging from basic budgeting to managing debt. In addition, Cornell provides its students with an impressive list of resources to help guide and educate them about personal finance.
20. University of Central Florida
Total Score: 43.1
Finishing off the Top 20 in a two-way tie on this year’s list is the University of Central Florida. UCF’s “Centsible Knights” program is one of the best financial literacy programs on any college campus according to LendEDU. This program offers an expansive collection of resources and guides to help assist students and educate them about financial wellness. Also, as of the summer of 2017, UCF began offering GradReady®, which is a free website that provides online videos and resources to aid users in making sound financial decisions.
20. Loyola University Chicago
Total Score: 43.1
Loyola University Chicago has also earned a share of the number 20 on our list with its “Money Matters” financial literacy program. According to the website, this program “offers online and in-person tutorials about financial literacy topics to provide personal finance education to Loyola Students.” In addition, “The Financial Literacy and Debt Management” program hosts numerous workshops and presentations throughout the school year to educate students about important topics, such as loan options, banking, money management, and much more.
22. Texas State University
Total Score: 43.0
Sealing the 22 spot on LendEDU’s list is none-other than Texas State University. Texas State is home to a top-notch financial literacy program called “Career & Financial Education” (CAFE). The website declares that this program’s mission is to “provide students with knowledge and skills to manage financial resources effectively to promote timely graduation and financial wellness.” The 2018 spring semester is already chock-full of planned workshops and events such as the “Financial-Expo” and “CAFÉ Symposium.”
23. The University of California, Los Angeles
Total Score: 42.9
The University of California, Los Angeles earns the 23rd spot on our list thanks to its “Financial Wellness Program.” In 2012, the UCLA Student Affairs Financial Literacy Working Group was created to study financial literacy preparedness and to provide needed services to a multitude of students in both undergrad and graduate schools. According to UCLA’s financial wellness page, the program is focused on “teaching life skills to students in the areas of navigating credit and saving, understanding student loan debt and repayment, purchasing a car or house, and distinguishing necessary financial products from unnecessary ones.”
24. University of Wisconsin-Madison
Total Score: 42.7
Earning the 24th spot on our Top 50 Financial Literacy Programs list is the University of Wisconsin-Madison and its Center for Financial Security. LendEDU is not the first to recognize the exceptional quality of this university’s efforts. In 2016, UW’s “Financial Life Skills Program” was one of just 15 recipients of the Governor’s Financial Literacy Award presented by Scott Walker. Criteria of the competition included innovative implementation, demonstrated measurable results, collaboration with partners, and a focus on need-based groups. As if that’s not impressive enough, the UW-Extension Family Living Program’s “Check Your Free Credit Report Campaign” was a recipient of the 2017 Governor’s Financial Literacy Award due to success in its mission of “increasing Wisconsin residents’ access to, and understanding of, their credit histories.”
25. Harvard University
Total Score: 42.6
Topping off the Top 25 is our third Ivy League school to make this year’s list, Harvard University. This prestigious institution offers a variety of resources to students on its website which cover topics, such as budgeting, credit, and debt management. Harvard also utilizes Google Hangouts to give presentations and Q&A’s to students who are seeking to become more financially literate. In addition, Harvard’s “201 Series” invites students to attend detailed sessions about financial aid and money management.
26. University of Pittsburgh
Total Score: 42.5
The University of Pittsburgh lands in the 26th spot on our list as it represents another one of the few schools that maintain a financial literacy requirement course. The university website offers a wide spread of resources and tools including a “financial aid terms and definitions” break down as well as pages that help students to develop a budget or monitor their loans. At Pittsburgh, students are openly welcome to visit the financial aid office to receive information and advice.
27. University of Colorado Denver
Total Score: 42.4
Clinching the 27th spot on LendEDU’s list is the University of Colorado Denver, which provides its students with an impressive number of workshops, presentations, and online educational resources. The university’s “Financial Literacy Education” service hosts workshops that cover topics, such as “Budgeting and Spending,” Student Loan Repayment,” and “Your Credit Matters.” CU Denver’s 2018 Spring Semester calendar is already jam-packed with events and workshops like “Money Matters,” “Ballin’ on a Budget,” and “Understanding Student Loans” just to name a few.
28. University of Cincinnati
Total Score: 42.3
Earning the 28th spot on our list this year is the University of Cincinnati due to its creative efforts to get students interested in financial literacy. During April, National Financial Literacy Month, you may catch a ride on the “Cash Cart” if you’re a UC student. Students can win prizes and learn important money managing skills, all while getting a free ride to class. However, students who miss the cart around campus need not worry. UC’s website has two very valuable resources. “UCan Manage it” aims to educate UC students and parents about college costs and affordability, financial aid resources, budgeting, saving, and reducing education-related debt. If that isn’t enough, “GradReady” is also available to students as a financial literacy tool that provides “expert guidance and real-world money skills.”
29. Southern Connecticut State University
Total Score: 42.2
Southern Connecticut State University clinches the 29th slot on LendEDU’s list for the second year in a row. SCSU provides its students with a substantial amount a financial literacy resources and tools. Perhaps most valuable, one-on-one consultations and presentations as well as customized financial planning sessions with students are offered. Southern Connecticut State University understands that its students each have unique financial situations and maintain individual academic goals. The goal of SCSU’s financial literacy program is to provide students with the assistance they need to form a sound financial plan that works for them.
30. Stanford University
Total Score: 42.1
Wrapping up the Top 30 on this year’s list is Stanford University and its “Mind Over Money Financial Literacy” program. According to Stanford’s website, “the program is a collaborative effort led by Student Financial Services and 19 offices on the Advisory Board.” Some features of the financial literacy page include workshop videos and a Mind Over Money Mailing List. In the fall of 2017, the program hosted a headlining event titled “Designing Your Financial Future” during which the University Tax Director, Chris Canellos, instructed the following six sessions: Intro to Financial Planning and Debt; Income Taxes and Planning; Risk Management and Insurance; Equity Investing; Real Estate Investing; and Retirement Planning.
31. University at Buffalo
Total Score: 41.9
Coming in at number 31 and kicking off the second half of LendEDU’s Top 50 Financial Literacy Programs is the University at Buffalo. In addition to providing students with a variety of educational resources, UB also offers informative courses through SUNY Smart Track. This program covers an assortment of topics, such as “College and Money,” “Loan Guidance,” “Psychology of Money,” and “Earning Money” just to name a few. The university also provides the students with qualified financial advisors that students can go to for advice.
31. University of Oregon
Total Score: 41.9
Tying for the 31st rank on our list is the University of Oregon and its impressive “Financial Flight Plan.” According to the university website, “The Financial Flight Plan is a program devoted to fostering a community of financially capable students at the University of Oregon.” This program provides students with an array of useful resources that detail the proper methods of handling everything from budgeting to borrowing. In addition, The Financial Flight Plan promotes and hosts a number of workshops that cover topics, such as budgeting, credit management, studying abroad, preparing for work after college, navigating work benefits and salary negotiations, and student loan repayment.
33. University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Total Score: 41.8
The University of Maryland, Baltimore County takes the 33rd spot on our list with its high quality “Financial Smarts” program. The Financial Smarts website page provides numerous resources that cover all sorts of topics, such as “Financing your education,” “Banking,” “Budgeting,” “Credit,” “Starting your career,” “Investing,” and “Taxes.” UMBC also offers its students chances to win monetary prizes in the form of bookstore vouchers for completing interactive online financial wellness modules through Cash Course. If all of that isn’t enough, UMBC’s Financial Smarts program also hosts an annual video contest that tasks students with recording a Snapchat or short video offering their best financial advice on saving money. Students who participate are eligible to win various types of prizes for offering their two-cents in preparation for Financial Literacy Month, which is celebrated with pride at UMBC.
34. University of South Florida
Total Score: 41.7
The University of South Florida and its “Bull2Bull” financial literacy program comes in at number 34 on LendEDU’s list. South Florida’s schedule is packed with informative and interactive workshops that can be requested by students, clubs, or residence halls on a first-come, first-serve basis. In addition, the Bull2Bull program utilizes a peer-to-peer model for personal coaching to assist students in achieving their financial goals. If that wasn’t enough, the month of April will surely be informative for USF students as the university celebrates National Financial Literacy Month by hosting numerous events.
35. University of Alaska Anchorage
Total Score: 41.6
Clinching the 35th spot on our break down is none other than the University of Alaska Anchorage. UAA’s “Savvy Seawolf” program works to promote and support responsible and healthy financial behaviors among UAA students. Every Monday from Noon - 1:00 p.m., the Savvy Seawolf program hosts a live-stream show on UAA’s college radio station to discuss financial tips, information, and upcoming relevant events. Furthermore, the University of Alaska provides students with top-notch resources, such as “Good, the Bad and the Ugly” and “Step into The Loan Zone” which detail the ins and outs of credit and student loans.
36. Duke University
Total Score: 41.2
Jumping up to the number 36 spot on this year’s list is Duke University. “Personal Finance @ Duke” is an elite financial literacy program that is designed to educate students with the skills that are necessary in everyday financial decision making. According to personalfinance.duke.edu, a primary goal of the program is to “provide an easy to use, sleek and contemporary web based interactive educational resource for ‘18-28’ year old students and alumni to address the educational gap facing this population concerning financial literacy and responsibility.” This program covers topics that range from budgeting and banking to privacy and security.
37. University of Iowa
Total Score: 41.1
Ranking 37th on our list is the University of Iowa. Students at the University of Iowa can schedule private consultations with financial literacy specialists for their own benefit. In addition, all students who wish to receive a private loan are required to meet with a financial literacy specialist who will review the student’s loan history and projected debt. The specialist will also discuss loan repayment plans and estimated monthly payments to ensure that the student is aware of their individual financial situation and is budgeting properly to accommodate for it.
38. University of Illinois
Total Score: 40.9
Clinching the number 38th spot on our list this year is the University of Illinois and its unique “Rotary Investment Challenge.” This program takes financial literacy a step further by introducing aspects of the stock market. Each participant receives a mock-brokerage account with $1 million at their disposal to buy and sell equities. The objective for each player is to beat out competitors by earning a higher return. Going even further, the University of Illinois hosts a “China Challenge” that opens Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges to participants and allows them to invest in the very volatile Chinese market to test their skills more rigorously.
39. Michigan State University
Total Score: 40.8
Cracking the Top 40 at number 39 on LendEDU’s list is Michigan State University. Michigan States’ financial literacy page provides students with resources about personal finance, student loan debt, taxes, and scholarships. In addition, “Financial 4.0” is a resource provided by the university that includes informative blogs, videos, and tools that assist students in expanding their understanding of their individual financial wellness. Perhaps most useful to students is “money.edu” which an IOS app developed by MSU to offer students a variety of financial tips and tools.
40. Villanova University
Total Score: 40.7
Wrapping up the Top 40 on this year’s list in a two-way tie is Villanova University. Villanova’s Financial Literacy and Budgeting page offers a plethora of helpful resources such as “Debt Management Links” and an extensive “Financial Aid Glossary.” The university’s website also provides students with numerous tools that can be used to help them through the financial aid process. Furthermore, Villanova has established the “Clergy Financial Literacy Program” which is an online learning community to support priests and pastoral leaders in financial literacy by providing informative videos, webinars, and “a library of practical resources.”
40. Menlo College
Total Score: 40.7
Sharing the 40th spot on our list is Menlo College. According to their “Beyond the Classroom” page, Menlo’s financial literacy center “provides learning opportunities to enable college students to make sound economic decisions, which will serve as fundamental skills for the rest of their lives.” Menlo College also offers a course to freshman students that covers nine sections of personal finance.
42. Wichita State University
Total Score: 40.6
Clinching the 42nd spot on LendEDU’s Top 50 Financial Literacy Programs list is Wichita State University. Wichita State is partnered with CashCourse which is an online center that provides information and resources that promote financial wellness to students. In addition, Wichita State University developed MyCollegeMoneyPlan.org, which is a free resource available to students that helps them in financial decision making for topics, such as “Choosing a College they can afford,” “Surviving and thriving financially while in college and beyond,” “How much student debt to take on, from what sources,” and “How much student debt after college.”
43. University of Maine
Total Score: 40.5
Coming in at number 43 on our list is none other than the University of Maine. UMaine’s partnership with SALT, an official financial literacy and debt management program, provides students with an interactive and free-of-cost educational tool. Some features of this program include a personal dashboard where students can track their student loans, multiple money management tools, and an online training resource that teaches students strategies for necessary skills like budgeting and credit management. If that isn’t enough, UMaine’s Peer Financial Advocacy Program (PFAP) conducts one-on-one confidential meetings at request with the goal of helping fellow students develop healthy financial habits.
44. California State University, Bakersfield
Total Score: 40.3
Ranking 44th on this year’s break down is California State University, Bakersfield. In July of 2017, CSUB announced that it partnered with Bank of America for a Financial Literacy Pilot Program. This program will allow university accounting and finance students to apply their knowledge by assuming the role of educators and teaching middle school students lessons on saving, investing, and banking. As for other students at the university who are seeking information and education about personal finance, the “iGrad” resource can prove useful. iGrad offers a free online course that covers budgeting, banking, credit card debt, identity theft, and financial goals. In addition, iGrad Townhall is a monitored online bulletin discussion board of Q&As that students can participate in to gather information about their financial uncertainties.
45. United States Military Academy at West Point
Total Score: 40.0
The United States Military Academy at West Point earns the 45th spot on our list due to its proactive methods in educating its students in financial literacy. Many West Point cadets are positioned to be exposed to the “financial realities of military life” and therefore it is of the utmost importance that they are taught the necessary skills of managing money and growing wealth. In the past, Morgan Stanley’s reputable Global Sports and Entertainment team has hosted a FinLit seminar for West Point Academy’s cadets that focused on the topics of making money, protecting it, saving it, and growing it.
46. University of South Carolina
Total Score: 39.9
The University of South Carolina comes in at number 46 with its expansive list of financial literacy workshops. The drop-in events offered include “Basic Budgeting and Financial Goal Setting,” “Get Smart about Credit;” “How to Pay the Bills,” “Planning to Finance College for Next Year” and many more. The university’s Student Success Center also provides a vast array of resources and opportunities to assist students in improving their financial wellness.
47. Ithaca College
Total Score: 39.8
Ithaca College finds its way on this year’s list by earning the 47th rank. A student at Ithaca may find themselves overwhelmed with informative and helpful financial resources, courses, and workshops especially during Financial Literacy Month. In addition, Ithaca offers a free course called “Financial Avenue” which covers an array of important topics, such as loan repayment, budgeting, and money and college.
48. Iowa State University
Total Score: 39.7
Ranking 48th on this year’s list is another school from the Hawkeye state, Iowa State University. Iowa State’s financial literacy initiative offers a notable number of financial literacy courses. Students can learn the specifics about both personal and family finance which will prepare them for their post-graduation financial futures. Some aspects of financial literacy that students will be exposed to at Iowa State are the practices of minimizing debt, accruing savings, and investing intelligently.
49. University of Arizona
Total Score: 39.6
Cracking the Top 50 this year on our list is University of Arizona with its “Take Charge Today” program. According to their website, this program’s curriculum consists of more than 75 lesson plans that have been tested and edited in collaboration with university researchers and financial industry experts. The program also provides numerous resources such as an online video library, webinars, newsletters, and interactive workshops.
50. Michigan Technological University
Total Score: 39.4
Earning the final spot and completing LendEDU’s Top 50 Financial Literacy Programs list is Michigan Technological University. Michigan Tech provides its students with an extensive collection of resources which includes top-tier names such as “CashCourse,” “350 Degrees of Financial Literacy,” and “MoneyGeek” just to name a few. Michigan Tech is devoted to providing its students with the necessary information, education, and tools to become financially savvy individuals who are prepared to navigate the complex financial environment that exists in personal finance throughout life.
Complete Rankings for the Top 50
In the following table, the column headers represent the following:
Resources: The amount of financial literacy workshops, webinars, presentations, tools, and pages readily available to students.
Advice: The amount of financial experts readily available for private consultations and the hours they are available.
Programs: The amount of programs readily available that incentivize financial literacy.
Total Score: The combined score of all three weighted parameters.
LendEDU’s study of the Top 50 College Financial Literacy Programs of 2018 was conducted by looking at hundreds of colleges and universities in the United States that are known to have a financial literacy program. Our rankings were based on three parameters: (1) Number of Workshops and Resources Available; (2) Access to One-On-One Financial Consultation; (3) Incentivizing Programs Available.
Each parameter was judged on a 50-point scale (50 being the best, one being the worst). To come up with a number score for each parameter for every school, each school’s readily available information was tallied up, and a mean was found for each parameter. The mean was used to assign a number score for each parameter for every school.
Once each parameter for each school was assigned a score, we were able to calculate a total score. The total score was found by multiplying each parameter’s 50-point score by that parameter’s assigned weight. Once we calculated those results, we were able to add all three weighted scores together to find a total score on a 50-point scale. The first parameter, Number of Workshops and Resources Available, was weighted at 50%, or 25 of the 50 points. The second parameter, Access to One-On-One Financial Consultation, was weighted at 30%, or 15 of the 50 points. The third parameter, Incentivizing Programs Available, was weighted at 20%, or 10 of the 50 points.
Here is a more detailed description of each parameter:
Number of Workshops and Resources Available: This was considered our most important parameter and was weighted accordingly at 50%. Each school’s financial literacy website was examined to determine the number of financial literacy workshops that were readily available. Besides the amount of financial literacy workshops, we also looked for the amount of resources that were readily available. Resources could have been webinars, video presentations, live presentations, financial tools, financial literacy pages, and interactive guides.
Access to One-On-One Financial Consultation: This was looked at as our second most important parameter and was weighted at 30%. Each school’s financial literacy website was examined to determine how accessible it was for students to get one-on-one consultations from a financial expert. The number of financial experts that were available at a certain school and the hours that they were available to give financial consultation were considered. Also, the level of expertise and financial industry experience that active advisors have was taken into account.
Incentivizing Programs Available: This was our third most important parameter and was weighted at 20%. Each school’s financial literacy website was examined to determine the number and quality of incentivizing programs that were readily available for students. An incentivizing program was something that encouraged the school’s students to practice financial literacy. Most of these programs would make the student participate in a financial literacy event, and in turn the student would be considered for a reward, usually monetary.