STARKVILLE, Miss.--Mississippi State University today announced it has been awarded a $40,000 grant from the Council of Graduate Schools to develop a financial education program for graduate and undergraduate students.
Awarded as part of a CGS best practice program, the "Enhancing Student Financial Education" project also is co-sponsored by TIAA-CREF, a leading financial services provider.
MSU will design a program that prepares students to play an active role in managing their personal finances and making informed decisions about saving, spending and borrowing.
The program will provide varied opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to experience face-to-face workshops, online training, traditional courses, career counseling, and communication networks and social media to help them make wise financial decisions and develop financial literacy.
Karen Coats, MSU associate dean of the Graduate School and co-principal investigator for the project, said student loan debt, exceeding $1 trillion nationwide last year, is a crisis impacting both undergraduate and graduate students in the U.S.
"As students amass debt at the undergraduate level, many of our best and brightest are unable to continue their education in graduate or professional school, preventing them from achieving mastery of their discipline and limiting their ability to reach their full potential," Coats said. "Mississippi State is committed to the well-being of our students and recognizes the need to help students make sound and informed financial decisions."
Coats explained that Mississippi State's Office of the Graduate School, in partnership with faculty and staff experts in financial literacy, student financial aid, information systems and technology, career counseling, and other student services, will use the funding to establish a comprehensive financial literacy program for MSU students.
"It is our hope that this program will promote financially informed students who will leave our institution with a brighter future," Coats said.
CGS President Debra W. Stewart lauded the winning proposal, noting that the project addresses an area of leading concern for graduate deans, according to an annual survey of CGS members.
"In collaboration with 14 other awardees and 19 affiliate partners, Mississippi State University is stepping up to help students prepare for the financial challenges of college life and beyond," Stewart said.
Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., president and CEO of TIAA-CREF, said, "By working together, universities and the private sector are uniquely well-positioned to provide students with the tools and resources they need to effectively manage their financial futures.
On awarding the funds to MSU, proposal evaluation took into consideration the innovations the university will develop to engage and address the needs of different groups of students and considered factors such as degree level, field of study, chosen career path and student demographics. The project's potential to successfully engage students also was key.
For more information about Mississippi State University, see www.msstate.edu.