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10 Online Resources for Student Financial Literacy

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10 Online Resources for Student Financial Literacy

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan believes that financial literacy needs to be a staple of the American education system. Speaking at Pensions and Investments’ Innovation and the Global Future of Retirement conference, Mr. Duncan likened financial literacy education to learning a foreign language in that it's something that should be taught as early as possible.

Financial Literacy is an Essential Skill

“If our young people aren't financially literate, we are part of the problem, not part of the solution. And as a nation, we have a huge problem,” Duncan said. He also noted that financial literacy is a topic that students find interesting. “This is a great way to teach math. Kids care about money,”he said. “Rich, poor, black, white; it doesn't matter. This isn't an add-on or extra (to the curriculum); this is a really interesting way to engage students.”

If our students aren’t financially literate, they head to college without the tools they need to budget and have the proper perspective regarding student loan debt. Recognizing this, many states are taking steps to improve financial literacy among students.

According to NewsObserver.com, a study by the Michigan Retirement Research Center found that barely a quarter of 20-somethings understand basic financial concepts such as interest rates and inflation. A survey by the nonprofit group Jump$tart reported that financial literacy scores had plummeted to their lowest levels in 12 years among high school seniors nationally. Not surprisingly, individuals who are less financially literate are more likely to face higher overall debt, unfavorable mortgages, and large credit-card balances.

Here are 10 online resources to help students improve their financial literacy:

1. FinAid

For years, FinAid.org has been providing students and families information on all aspects of financial aid with tools for calculating college costs, loan payments, savings and the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

2. Edvisors

Last month, Edvisors rolled out this interactive site for families and students that offers advice about a wide variety of financial aid topics that include planning ahead for college and cutting costs, filing the FAFSA, winning scholarships, paying as you go, borrowing for college, and the ins and outs of student loans.

3. One For Your Money*

This financial literacy web resource is the brainchild of Mary Johnson. By visiting this site, college students can gain access to a one-stop-shop for financial tips and money management information. Mary brings together videos, articles, and other financial tools on One For Your Money to keep things new and exciting.

*Recommended by CheapScholars.org

4. CashCourse.org*

The National Endowment provides this student financial literacy resource for Financial Education (NEFE). This non-profit foundation has been around for more than 30 years and is committed to educating Americans on a broad range of financial topics and empowering them to make positive and sound decisions to reach their financial goals. CashCourse.org serves as a great resource for students as it speaks to many of the common financial pitfalls they may be encountering during their college years.

*Recommended by CheapScholars.org

5. Practical Money Skills*

This site, created by Visa, provides users with helpful articles, budget planning resources, games, apps, videos and calculators. These are all designed to help users of all ages to learn about and understand financial literacy.

*Recommended by CheapScholars.org

6. MoneySkill.org

MoneySKILLisa free online reality based personal finance course for young adults developed by the AFSA Education Foundation. This interactive curriculum is aimed at the millions of high school and college students who graduate each year without a basic understanding of money management fundamentals.

7. ShowMetheFuture.org

Before graduating from college, it would be nice to know if you’re truly ready for the “real” world. This educational game provides users with an identity including occupation, income, marital status, whether or not you have kids, and more. You have a checking account with a register, which will contain the money you earned as your new identity. Then you get to make choices, like the kind of house you’ll live in and what you’re going to eat based on your identity. Every choice you make costs money, which will be deducted from the money in your checking account. The trick to the game is to see if you can make ends meet and still have some cash at the end.

8. Teens’ Guide to Money

This online resource guides teens to learn all about money and money management. It is broken down into four major categories: earning, saving, investing, and spending. Under each category you can choose a topic that interests you providing helpful tips and resources for each topic.

9. CollegeInColorado.org*

If you are looking for a three-pronged approach to financial literacy, then don’t look any further than this site from the Colorado Department of Higher Education. They utilize an interactive website with a self-paced curriculum and partner it with presentations and a printable guide to help get visitors on the path to financial literacy.

*Recommended by CheapScholars.org

10. HandsonBanking.org

The Hands on Banking site allows visitors to take charge of their own finances and reach goals. You simply pick your age group and get started! Whether you want to build your credit, your investments, or your own small business; invest in the market, a home, or higher education; shop for a loan, buy a car, or open your first bank accounts, the Hands on Banking program offers all the basic money tools, skills, and information you need. It’s course divisions offer programs from kids to senior adults.

Poor financial decisions, made by everyone from Wall Street elites to average homebuyers, have snowballed into the recession that began in 2008. Financial literacy education will help students prepare for a life free from debt and added frustration.

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Written by Suzanne Shaffer

Suzanne Shaffer counsels parents and students in the college admissions process and the importance of early college preparation. Her Parenting for College blog offers timely college tips for parents and students, as well as providing parents with the resources necessary to help their college-bound teens navigate the college maze.

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