Loyola University Chicago’s project developed, promoted, and delivered expanded, enhanced, more comprehensive and new, creative, and innovative educational programs on financial aid, financial concepts, and debt management to graduate and undergraduate Loyola students.
Project plan and activities:
Loyola’s project incorporates the specific needs of special populations, beginning with basic concepts before graduating to more intermediate and advanced content areas. For undergraduate and graduate students with limited financial knowledge, basic financial education interventions are provided on topics from types of aid available to basic budgeting to understanding credit and loan options. Financial education at the intermediate level covers topics relevant for undergraduate and graduate students who have moved beyond their first year of study and are confronted with debt management and personal financing issues. Advanced financial education is provided in a formal financial education course for undergraduates that was implemented in 2014 as a part of the Quinlan School of Business core curriculum, and provides a basis for the establishment of similar courses in other schools of the university. Additional advanced education is presented in two workshops per semester for upperclassmen and graduate students focusing on concepts of personal investing after graduation towards a financially stable and comfortable life and eventual retirement.
The Financial Aid Office (FAO) expanded content and resources provided to undergraduate students to include more general financial planning and debt management education, and individual financial counseling for all students that are in the highest need category. Family members of these students are invited to participate in additional financial planning sessions. Undergraduates also receive financial education content that was added to the Freshman Seminar.
Graduate students at Loyola University Chicago also attend enhanced advanced workshops on debt management, investment strategies, and scholarship/fellowship/grant application writing.
Several innovative, interactive, and digital approaches, including peer-to-peer workshops with finance-based board games, extensive online tools and games, a new Comprehensive Financial Education website, interactive improvisational theater presentations, and comic improvisation events were utilized. LUC-Enactus business students collaborated in this project by adapting their financial educational program for high school students for use with Loyola undergraduate and graduate students. Workshop activities included short videos explaining basic financial concepts, followed by a discussion of examples, challenges, and decisions that may arise.
Students use the financial education game “MindBlown Life,” an immersive and social career simulation mobile game that provides students with an interactive and engaging financial experience. In the game, players create a fully-customizable avatar; role-play working professionals; and earn resources through heart-pumping, physics-based mini-games. They make numerous decisions throughout the course of gameplay and experientially learn everything from basic budgeting and financing college to managing their credit score and effectively dealing with debt. Loyola is working together with MindBlown Labs, the creators of this game, for beta-testing and full-scale implementation.
More information on the project can be found here.