Post-graduation Problems: Where’s the Prep

There are clearly many aspects to being an independent and adept adult. College is an incredible opportunity to gain some of those valuable skills, especially for a particular career path. However, knowing how to do a specific job is not the only thing that constitutes being a successful adult. Institutions like Marist College should require financial literacy classes for their students so upon leaving college, they are completely prepared and confident to enter the real world.   

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The Marist College mission statement says, “Marist is dedicated to helping students develop the intellect, character, and skills required for enlightened, ethical, and productive lives in the global community of the 21st century.” Although Marist provides students with many learning opportunities in the classroom as well as with study abroad programs and internships, some students feel the college does not do enough. To be a self-supporting and competent adult, there is much more than just the academic and social experience. After college there are bills and student loans to pay, apartments to rent and taxes to file. As a student, the pressure to find a job after college is frightening along with being thrown into the real world.

Although two years away from graduating, Matthew Dwyer ‘21 does not feel he is prepared for life after college. His main concerns are finding a job and paying off student debt. For a way to be more equipped in the real world, Dwyer said, “Give us a course in college.”

Dwyer is not alone in his trepidations and confusion about paying off student debt, rent and credit cards. In the US there is a deficiency in financial literacy among college students. According to Lendedu, only 17 states in the US require high schools students to take a personal finance class. Going into college students are lacking knowledge about saving and the student debt they will need to pay.

Furthermore, Lendedu conducted a survey among 455 college students about personal finances. In their 2016 College Students and Personal Finance Study, only 8 percent of college students would give themselves an “A” in terms of successfully managing their finances and money, while 41 percent would give themselves a “C.” In the same survey, 58 percent of students said they are not saving money and 81 percent said they do not have an emergency fund.

Some of the responsibility does fall on parents to be teaching their children about saving money and making smart financial decisions. Parents and teachers are some of the most influential people in individuals’ lives, so they should be encouraging teenagers and young adults to take interest in their financial matters.

Once in college, institutions like Marist should want to fully prepare their students for life after school. Requiring a class dedicated to teaching about paying off student debt, mortgages, down payments and credit cards would be incredibly helpful. It would also be in the best of Marist to want to create financially savvy alumni. Individuals with more savings would probably be more likely to donate money back to Marist than those who not setting aside money.

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In Lendedu’s survey, 43 percent of college students could not identify one significant difference between a credit and debit card. Having a strong understanding how to manage personal finances is critical to succeeding in building a prosperous and rewarding life. Therefore Marist College needs to offer courses for students to learn ways to handle their finances. In Lendedu’s survey, only 34 percent of students reported they have taken a personal finance class in college, while 21 percent of students have not taken a personal finance class but are planning to take one, and 45 percent of students reported they have not taken personal finance class and do not plan on taking any.

Along with many other college students, Marist students are nervous and concerned about the obstacles that arrive after college. There is much confusion and stress surrounding student debt, rent and credit cards. It would be extremely beneficial if Marist required students to take a personal finance course and fulfill their claim that Marist provides students with the tools for success following college.

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