Financial center focuses on monetary education

Mackenzie Mathews

fter the Board of Regents approval in July 2013, the Gordon Ford College of Business officially created the Center for Financial Success.

The college spent last semester developing the program to better its ability to help students, faculty and, eventually, the Bowling Green community deal with financial issues.

Andrew Head, director of the center, teaches several classes on budgeting and financial literacy. He was one of the main components in founding the center, and hoped to ensure opportunities for financial education and practical experience for finance students.

“I don’t think that people, necessarily, fully grasp the implications for the rest of these students’ lives if they don’t have proper financial stability,” Head said.

The center provides financial learning through different forms. Peer-to-peer counseling is available to students suffering concerns with anything from budgeting to debt. Head will also be presenting seminars on issues like managing credit, insurance and investing.

Head said economic problems are common around the country, so the responsibility lies in the schools to promote financial education across campus and the community. 

“If we are, as a university, supposed to be stewards of our community, we need to help out in any way we can,” he said. “This issue of financial literacy and success has been lacking, and it’s a unifying theme amongst Americans.”

The center hopes to expand to the community with an off-campus counseling clinic available for anyone in need of monetary advice. Upperclassmen in the finance department would take part in the counseling, in turn giving the students professional experience.

The finance department has also been working with several high schools to offer dual credit courses on personal finance.

Christopher Brown, chair of the Finance Department, said it is important to begin learning finance early, so students can deal with monetary freedom when they get to college.

“I think the earlier you learn these things the better, because when freshmen move from high school to college, you’re not around your parents as much,” he said. “Then, it becomes important that you make the correct decisions.”

For the center, it is all about spreading financial literacy, which entails the ability to make intelligent financial choices, as opposed to emotional or ignorant decisions. 

“Understanding the inflows and outflows of one’s financial life, not just short-term but long-term, then understanding how to handle catastrophic events, whether you need renters insurance, what type of car insurance and all those pieces together will impact your financial life,” said Jeffrey Katz, dean of the business college.

Head has worked to create partnerships with Service One Credit Union and the Financial Planning Association of Kentuckiana. Service One has helped fund the student counselor program for the center, and Kentuckiana provides professional development seminars for students.

Head plans for the continued growth of the center and funding from private donors and grants. The resources will go to increasing staff in the financial success clinic and more regular presentations.

“Ideally, I’d love to have monthly — or at least quarterly — seminars for anybody who wants to come and get free information on basic and intermediate and advanced financial planning concepts. A lot of people don’t have access to it,” he said.

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