Enhancing Student Financial Education

    Today’s graduate and undergraduate students are in a much different place financially than previous generations of students. In 2012, total student debt for the first time exceeded $1 trillion. Rising debt levels can cause some students to defer graduate study or to decide that a graduate degree is not for them. At a time when public funding for education is decreasing and student debt is rising, more students are taking on debt to support their educational aspirations.


    To help students learn how to successfully manage their finances and educational costs, the Council of Graduate Schools, funded by a grant from TIAA, a leading financial services organization with a long history of serving those in the academic, research, medical and cultural fields, launched a three-year project to enhance the financial literacy of graduate and undergraduate students. 


    Project Goals


    Participating colleges and universities designed programs that prepare students to play an active role in managing their personal finances and making informed decisions about saving, spending, and borrowing. The institutions addressed the needs of different groups of students, while considering factors such as their field of study, degree levels, and chosen career pathways, each of which has significant financial ramifications. CGS and partnering institutions collected and analyzed data to inform the development of innovative, new tools and resources for students.


    A forthcoming publication describing the results of the three-year project will be released in 2016.




    CGS has developed GradSense, www.GradSense.org, a unique online education platform that provides students with financial information about a range of topics including the value of pursuing an advanced degree. Through interactive visualization tools and engaging infographics, we invite students to better understand a variety of issues related to borrowing and spending, potential future earnings, and money management.


    To integrate GradSense and related resources into your webpages, click here.


    Research Partners


    Through a competitive proposal process involving an independent selection committee, 15 institutions were selected and participated in the project as funded research partners. The institutions selected were:


    An additional 19 universities participated in the project as affiliate partners.




    Explore the links and presentations below for more background on this project:





    Daniel Denecke

    Jeff Allum


    In collaboration with:



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