College Students Facing Enormous Financial Challenges

College Students Facing Enormous Financial Challenges-Image by York College of PA via Flickr

 NSLP, a private not-for-profit serving post-secondary institutions, today released an action plan for developing a campus financial education program. The report, titled Financial Capability Now: Why College Students Can’t Wait, provides a framework for student financial success.

The report recommends:

Create a multidisciplinary success team that includes the stakeholders on your campus and engages them to improve the financial capability of students.

  • Identify the financial topics relevant to students. Each campus and student population has a different need, and those needs may change as students progress through their education.
  • Identify the best and most accessible strategy for your campus, and select a delivery method that works for your school.
  • Once you begin your program, promote it to your students in order to get them to participate throughout their college career.
  • Assess the impact of your financial education program. Gather data related to programs and services to highlight the impact on financial capability and to support the need for continued resources moving forward.

The data released today supports the mounting body of evidence that proves financial education is critical for students in higher education. A study by Hartford Financial Services Group shows that only 24 percent of students feel well prepared to deal with the financial challenges that await them after graduation. Financial education improves a student’s financial knowledge, cultivates their money management skills, and increases confidence around financial decision-making.

“In study after study we’re seeing the same thing—students want to increase their financial capability,” says Kate Trombitas, NSLP vice president of financial education. “It is time for campuses to work creatively and collaboratively to respond to this need. This report makes it clear that students can’t wait for this critical piece of education; colleges need to respond.”

In addition, many students rely on credit cards to pay for textbooks and tuition when financial assistance fails to cover their expenses. Therefore, along with mounting student loan debt, young adults also face growing credit card debt. Overwhelming debt creates stress that many students are unable to manage. Financial education not only helps relieve stress related to excessive debt, but it also can be proactive in providing students with the resources they need to make informed choices before they borrow.

While some schools have implemented financial education programs on their campuses, the report explains why schools need to go beyond simply offering a program to their students.

“Schools must assess the impact of their programs to ensure they are meeting the unique needs of their student population,” Trombitas says. “When it comes to financial education programs, one size does not fit all situations. More than collecting information about how many students they serve in their programs, schools need to collect qualitative data about what students say about their financial issues. Schools must accurately gauge the effectiveness of their programs.”

This report encourages schools to act now to ensure a better financial future for students, schools and our communities. Download the report here.


Headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska, NSLP is a private, not-for-profit company with a 25-year legacy in the higher education marketplace. A former Top-10 student loan guarantor, NSLP continues to be a passionate leader and advocate for student success; providing colleges and universities nationwide with financial education, delinquency prevention, default aversion, financial aid related support, and Title IV training and compliance programs. NSLP collaborates with schools to develop programs that will ultimately help our future generations thrive financially.

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