Teaching Students to be Stewards
Many college students think of repaying loans, building credit and planning for retirement as things to worry about after graduation. What they don′t realize is that the financial decisions they make now will shape the rest of their lives.
To help Geneva College students get off to the right start, the Financial Aid Office is partnering with the Office of Career Development to offer a series of personal finance workshops. The series will bring in outside experts to discuss the hows and whys of money, debt and retirement planning.
"Basically, this all came about because of the debt that we see students have," says Assistant Director of Financial Aid Allyson Bentz. "A lot of them haven′t really thought much yet about their finances and how that affects God′s kingdom. This gives them a place to get information and tools to help them do that."
The first session will be held on January 27, and Certified Financial Counselor Curt Knotick will discuss budgeting, saving and the wise use of credit. Students will receive a "money map" from Crown Financial Ministries and begin to formulate a personal spending plan. The series will continue February 24 as a representative from American Education Services (AES) discusses strategies for loan repayment. The last session, held April 13, will help students understand retirement and why it′s important to plan for it now, while time is on their side.
"It will be a good mix of foundational principles and practical application," Bentz says.
The Career Development Office brings additional perspective to the personal finance series. They have consistently offered a yearly budgeting and finance workshop for seniors, but recently decided to partner with financial aid to help students think strategically about loans, as well.
"They see the impact on the other side - where students are looking for jobs and considering their salaries in light of their debt and making decisions based on finances instead of on what they feel called to do," says Financial Aid Counselor Amanda Morrison.
"We want to show students how their finances fit into God′s bigger plan for their lives," says Director of Career Development Rob Rostoni. "We see a lot of students who are locked into a job just because it pays the bills and not because they feel that′s where God has called them."
The personal finance series is open to the entire campus community, and Morrison and Bentz hope this will encourage all students to attend - not just those counting down to graduation.
"Starting the conversation early will give them that much more time to develop better habits," Bentz says. "Maybe if they learn something their freshman year, they can make better financial decisions for their next three years, and that can really impact the rest of their lives."