Mississippi State University’s project uses a variety of content and delivery methods designed to engage a broad population of students, including traditional, face-to-face lecture-based courses; hands-on web app design, development, testing, and distribution; “road show” modular workshops delivered face-to-face at student organization and group meetings; group discussions at PFF meetings; one-on-one counseling; and online modules and videos. Financial literacy training is delivered broadly to graduate and undergraduate students, while targeting the African American population in particular through numerous student organizations, including MSU Increasing Minority Access to Graduate Education (IMAGE) Program, Underrepresented Minority Summer Research Program, Men of Excellence, and IDEAL Woman.
Project plan and activities:
The project team developed a financial literacy smartphone web application that includs several components related to financial literacy, including a variety of calculators, assessment tools, and links to other relevant information. After development and testing, the app will be available from the iTunes App store and the Android App Market for free worldwide. Calculators support “what if” analysis, so the user can see the effect of different interest rates, for instance, or number of payments/contributions, etc.
An online library guide on financial literacy was compiled for use by the MSU community. The guide serves as a web portal that provides graduate and undergraduate students access to both locally developed and web-based information on financial literacy and financial management topics.
Part of MSU’s project is the Financial Literacy at Mississippi State website, designated to inform the MSU community about personal finances and include a calendar of financial literacy training events, links to materials, and other resources.
MSU made significant use of social media to promote upcoming financial literacy events, including newly established Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts. Face-to-face workshops were videotaped and are available via YouTube, allowing dissemination to a broader audience. These workshops for students focused on topics such as: tips for living economically, how to use credit cards, financing degrees, and maximizing the return on college investment
For graduate students, a personal finance component was added to Preparing Future Faculty, Graduate Student Association, Black Graduate Student Association, New Graduate Student Orientation, Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week, and several other programs and events.
A new first-year seminar course introduces college freshmen to all target areas of financial literacy. Students are also able to consult Career Counseling, conducted by career counselors in the MSU Career Center, for one-on-one counseling on the cost to benefit ratio of graduate education, addressing the key area of long-term planning.
More information on the project can be found here.