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Articles: Student Services

The interest in financial literacy has expanded beyond the financial office, which is where Lyssa Thaden, financial education content manager at American Student Assistance, used to focus her pitches.

“Now, at a stakeholder meeting, I’ll have someone from the financial aid office but also someone from admissions and enrollment management,” says Thaden, who consults with school sponsors of SALT, ASA’s financial literacy program. “The marketing folks show up, the residence life people show up, and even alumni.”

By the time our UB audience reads this, the movie “Captain Phillips,” based on a true story, will be hitting the Hollywood box office. After keeping the crew of his ship safe, Phillips was held hostage on a lifeboat by Somali pirates. In interviews since, the captain reported not knowing that the ship anchored on his horizon carried US Navy SEALs—a team that would ultimately rescue him.

Since their inception after WWII, the U.S. Navy SEALs have intelligently vanquished US enemies.

Today’s students are facing higher costs, greater debt and continually changing financial aid policies, yet many don’t have a clear understanding of how their financial decisions can impact their education and their future. Institutions are beginning to respond to the need for financial literacy programs, but face a major hurdle gaining traction and commitment on campus, stemming from the fact that financial literacy does not naturally fall under any one college department’s responsibility. Instead it has many touch points of concern during a student’s college experience.

Student loan debt is topping $1 trillion, and borrowers aren’t the only ones with reason to be concerned. While higher education leaders aren’t responsible for the loans, they also have a stake in getting rising debt and default levels under control.

Megan McClean, director of policy and federal relations for the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, says the first reason for concern about debt is simply that administrators care about students and want them to succeed.

Supporting the emotional health of students should be a priority on all campuses, and the nonprofit Jed Foundation is helping to make that happen. Colleges and universities can evaluate the care they provide with JedCampus, a program launched in May.

“Efforts should be made to promote connectedness and reduced isolation,” says John MacPhee, executive director of the program. “Mental health improves the more a student feels like a member of a community.”

College students with no loan debt are more likely to lead a richer social life that involves partying, studying less, and forming relationships that will last long after graduation, a pair of University of Indiana sociologists says.

Ivy Tech Community College (Ind.) had a classic good news-bad news problem. The good news was that interest in the 31-campus, statewide institution was burgeoning. The bad news was that budget belt-tightening was limiting the ability of staff to tend to the growing attention needed by prospective students while also responding to the needs of current students.

A few years ago, career services professionals at colleges and universities in the U.S. didn’t have much use for social media. But all that has changed. The Career Advisory Board, established by DeVry University, and the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) have released a new national survey, “Career Services Use of Social Media Technologies,” about college career centers sentiment toward and usage of social media.

Two-year students typically work more hours than four-year students and may have families to provide for

When Jesica Rasmussen began looking into her university options three years ago, she had more on her mind than a typical college freshman. As the wife of an active-duty soldier in the U.S. Army, Rasmussen could expect many moves in her future. She could expect deployments when her husband was away for long periods of time, leaving her alone to care for their four children. She also had to find the funds to pay for school with limited budgets and financial programs available to military spouses.

For most colleges and universities, having students live on campus can provide a number of benefits, both in revenue and in classroom performance. So how can an institution maximize the benefits while creating an atmosphere that not only attracts a growing number of students, but also ensures that their experience is mutually beneficial? A comprehensive approach that emanates from the concept of providing improved value for the on-campus resident can have far reaching benefits for both student and school.

As rising tuition and the uncertain job market pressure families to spend their college savings wisely—and to even question the value of such spending—colleges and universities are more likely to be evaluated based on their return on investment. It is not just academic quality and prestige that today’s prospective students look for. They also demand a proven track record of graduate school admissions, job placements, and earning potential in relation to the overall cost of enrollment.

When the entire city of Boston was on lockdown during the April 19 manhunt for the marathon bombing suspects, institutions such as Boston College and Boston University were posting on Facebook to let admitted students know the status’ of open houses scheduled to occur that weekend.

As student loan debt levels and default rates in the United States continue to climb, consumers remain concerned about the accessibility and affordability of higher education. The average overall loan debt for bachelor’s degree recipients is fairly manageable (about $26,500 for the class of 2011, according to The Institute for College Access and Success). Still, students and families are shouldering a greater portion of the cost of college through loans than they ever have before.

  1. Unbiased student choice of where to bank. The bank account students begin at school may continue with them for decades. Such an important choice shouldn’t be skewed by which bank gave the school the most money. For financial aid disbursements, campuses should provide students a diverse set of disbursement options that clearly include the ability to use their own existing bank account and ability to choose to receive a check.

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