All posts by Ashley O'Keefe

Spectacular Staff and Faculty Make Financial Literacy Fun

BY: ERICA MILOSH

The “Making It Work” Financial Literary Workshop is a quick and valuable cultural credit that teaches students the realities of credit and debit cards. (Nichols students are required to complete 16 cultural credits, which enhance learning through culturally and societally relevant topics.) At first glance, financial literacy does not seem like the most stimulating topic, but the faculty members responsible for the workshop kept everyone’s attention by involving students in the discussion. The designers and leaders of the workshop include Jennifer Bianco, director of financial assistance; Rachel Ferreira, assistant director of enrollment for peer engagement; Lisa Liese, director of student accounts; and Katie Moulton, associate director of enrollment for student success and retention.

The first segment of “Making It Work” took place Sept. 23. Most of the session was spent learning the gritty details about credit cards, how to use them, and the importance of one’s credit score. The animated speakers kept students involved with “True or False” games and other trivia.

The second part of the workshop, which was held Sept. 30, compared credit and debit cards. The speakers immediately started with a Jeopardy game to test our general knowledge about the differences in cards. Some of the financial literacy jargon—such as the term “churning”—caught students off guard. Even the most financially savvy student had something new to learn. Afterward, Jen, Rachel, Lisa, and Katie kept the conversation lively by providing real life stories about financial mishaps. All of the presenting women had valuable advice to offer about finances.

Usually, I’m one to cringe when pondering money-related situations, but I learned a lot during both “Making It Work” sessions. The presenters did a great job turning a dull topic into stimulating and informative knowledge. I’ve always been scared of credit cards, but I have far more confidence in my judgment now. I’ve learned it’s impossible to rely on a debit card forever, and I shouldn’t be using it in certain situations.

These financial literacy segments began last spring and will continue to be held once in the spring and once in the fall for a cultural credit. The presenters wrapped up this fall’s session by asking students what else they would like to learn about financial matters.

What do you know about your credit score?

On September 23, Nichols College’s Fischer Institute hosted an event called “Making It Work” as part one of a Financial Literacy Series that will take place in the upcoming weeks. This event was hosted and directed by Katie Moulton, associate director of enrollment for student success and retention; Jen Bianco, director of financial assistance; Rachel Ferreira, Call Center manager and director of the Ambassador Program; and Lisa Liese, director of student accounts. This event was focused on credit, credit scores, and credit reports along with the positive and negative effects certain things can have on your credit report, which is a detailed record of your credit history.

Campus officials began by giving a brief overview about some of the major things we, as students, should look out for when making big-or-small purchasing decisions. From buying a car or getting a mortgage on a house, to opening a credit card at a department store to get 25 percent off your purchase, they touched on everything. Did you know ignored library fines or unpaid parking tickets negatively affect your credit score? Did you know it could take seven to 10 years for a “hit” to be removed from your credit history?  A “hit” refers to skipping rent payments, having high revolving balances, or failure to pay medical bills.

A big topic discussed was college loans. Students received pointers on how to handle their student loans after graduation—whether it is making on-time payments or deferring them, neither will hurt your credit score. This was informational for me, especially as a senior, because I learned that my loans are deferred until six months after graduation and deferred even longer if I attend graduate school. This made me realize it is important to develop a timeline to prepare for your loans to start.

At the end of the informational part of the event, we all received a piece of paper with “true” written on one side and “false” on the other. We, as an audience, were asked a series of questions that are commonly asked by students pertaining to credit scores and history reports and held up “true” or “false,” depending on our opinion. It was interactive and made students realize they knew more about their credit than they thought they did, or that they mastered the guessing game.

Overall, this event gave students a better understanding of making financial decisions that could affect their credit scores, positively and negatively, in the long run.