The class of 2016 is saddled with about $37,000 of student loan debt, and that number is likely to increase for future graduates as tuition rises and federal aid decreases.
Holly Wright knows the realities of helping young people become financially literate, especially at a university where 89% of first-time, full-time students receive financial aid.
Wright is the program manager of the UM Financial Education Program, a free financial literacy service for University of Montana students. There, students attend workshops about the FAFSA, budgeting, credit, savings, student loans and scams.
Because the program is not a mandated course, Wright does outreach to both students and departments. She goes to other classes to let students know the service is free and available, and other departments, like the Office of Financial Aid, will direct students to her for additional support.
Wright says that her students have become increasingly interested in financial literacy since taking the uncredited course and ask the most about the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.
For the 2017-18 academic year, the University of Montana costs $16,241 for in-state students and $34,121 for out-of-state students.
The average cost for an in-state public college for the 2017–18 academic year averaged $25,290, while a private college averaged $50,900, according to the College Board.
Missoula residents can also come to the campus for financial literacy workshops and support.
-Amanda Eisenberg, Issue #34