Need for Financial Literacy

There is a defined need for a comprehensive financial literacy program for young adults.

 

Here are some important stats about students and financial data reported by a study conducted by Sallie Mae in April of 2009…

  • The average undergraduate student carried $3,173 in credit card debt in 2008. (Sallie Mae, 2009)
  • In 2008, college seniors with at least one credit card graduated with an average of $4,138 in credit card debt, up 44% from 2004. (Sallie Mae, 2009)
  • 84% of college students have a credit card. (Sallie Mae, 2009)
  • The average college student has 4.6 credit cards, and over half of the students have 4 or more cards. (Sallie Mae, 2009)
  • More than 75% of college students incurred finance charges on their credit card balances. (Sallie Mae, 2009)
  • 60% of the students said they were surprised by how high their credit balance had reached. (Sallie Mae, 2009)
  • 40% of the students surveyed indicated that they made a purchase knowing they did not have the money to repay the debt. (Sallie Mae, 2009)

While some of these statistics have improved slightly since 2008 based on legislation such as the CARD Act of 2009 and an increased focus on financial literacy, there are still many statistics that show a need for a stronger focus on financial literacy. For example, findings from a survey of over 500 students conducted by University of Houston Law Center Professor, Jim Hawkins reported the following statistics…

  • 68% of students under the age of 21 received credit card offers in the mail. (University of Houston Law Center, 2012)
  • 27% of students surveyed indicated that they reported student loans as a source of income to qualify for a credit card. (University of Houston Law Center, 2012)

These statistics indicate that even though the CARD act of 2009 was established to reduce the marketing efforts of credit card companies geared towards college students who are under 21 years of age and to require students to demonstrate an ability to repay the debt from income, students under the age of 21 are still being targeted and approved for credit cards.

 

Lastly, a report published by the International Journal of Business and Social Science in April 2012, titled “Financial Literacy and Credit Cards: A Multi Campus Survey” which surveyed 725 students from 5 different universities provided the following information…

  • Only 9.4% of students surveyed paid their credit card in full every month. (Ludlum, Tilker, Ritter, Cowart, Xu & Smith, 2012)
  • Only 14.6% of students claimed to know the interest rate they paid on credit. (Ludlum et al., 2012)
  • 75.7% of students surveyed indicated they did know what the late payment fee was on their credit card. (Ludlum et al., 2012)

These statistics are true indicators of the need of additional education around personal finances.

 

We are currently in the midst of economic turmoil caused by overuse and in some cases misuse of credit. The only way to prevent financial turmoil like what we are experiencing today is to become properly educated around finances so that we are able to make responsible financial decisions.

 

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