Schools Highlight Creative Approaches to Financial Literacy Training

​Two schools’ creative, comprehensive approaches to financial literacy education are paying dividends for their students.

In a Financial Literacy Month webcast from USA Funds® last week, representatives of St. Philip’s College and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis reported on their efforts to promote financial literacy.

St. Philip’s College

St. Phillip's College uses USA Funds Life SkillsLocated in San Antonio, St. Philip’s College begins teaching its more than 11,000 students about money management during a lesson presented in a game show format during new-student orientation. That financial literacy training continues throughout students’ time on campus, with efforts such as classroom instruction that includes USA Funds Life Skills® as well as peer mentoring, online messages and additional resources through the school’s career center.

The result is a more financially literate student body at St. Philip’s College, according to data such as pre-test and post-test results from before and after orientation, as well as assessment results from the USA Funds Life Skills courses. The school’s students have completed more than 19,000 courses through USA Funds’ financial literacy and student success program since fall 2012.

St. Philip’s College’s cohort default rate on student loans is decreasing as well, to 17.2 percent from 23.4 percent.

“The reason that we’ve been successful with this initiative is because we’ve adopted financial literacy as an institutional priority,” Sherrie Lang of St. Philip’s College told the more than 100 webcast participants. “It is something we’ve all agreed we want to address.”

Lang is St. Philip’s College vice president for student success. Diane Hester, instructor/faculty counselor, and Mia Gallegos, senior financial literacy program coordinator, also shared St. Philip’s College’s financial literacy strategies and results.


IUPUI’s financial literacy efforts are part of a broader initiative that includes all eight Indiana University campuses. More than 30,000 students attend IUPUI, and IU’s overall enrollment is more than 102,000.

At IUPUI, a Financial Wellness Committee serves as “a touch point for the Indianapolis campus,” according to Michele Wedel, adjunct professor at IUPUI. Representatives of the various academic areas on campus join those from advising teams as well as students to coordinate financial literacy education efforts.

Programs to help students better manage money include a university-wide online resource, peer mentoring, and a financial literacy trivia contest.

Additionally, Wedel teaches financial literacy courses that students may take for elective credits that count toward their degrees. Those courses encourage good money management and incorporate USA Funds Life Skills.

In her teaching, Wedel focuses on topics that assessments and feedback indicate are having an impact. Topics include financial planning, managing cash and savings, managing credit, protecting financial identity, financing college, and how to start saving for retirement.

“If we can apply (financial literacy education) to things like ‘How do I save money on spring break?’ or ‘How do I make sure my identity is protected?’ — things that mean something to students right now — then the retention rate is better, and the student response is better,” Wedel said.

After completing the course, students have reported an increased ability to manage daily expenses, knowledge of the difference between a need and a want, and a better understanding of credit and financial identity.

Learn more

To see a recording of the April 23 webcast, “Creative Approaches to Financial Literacy Training,” visit the USA Funds Resource Library. To learn more about USA Funds Life Skills or any of USA Funds’ other default prevention tools and solutions, contact USA Funds.