Undergrads Want Financial Education – What’s Your Credit Union Waiting For?

This entry was posted by Monday, 30 August, 2010
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Some of the funniest commercials have aired during back-to-school season, like this one from Office Max (my favorite part is the lollipop switched for a magnifying glass).

But while many students roll their eyes at these commercials, others are scratching their heads wondering how the final set of CARD Act rules–which went into effect on August 22nd–will affect their credit accounts.

It’s my opinion that this is a perfect opportunity for credit unions to reach young adults and help them with financial education.  Why?

  1. The CARD Act is arguably the most important financial change to impact this demographic.
  2. Young adults WANT to learn how to better manage their money. According to a recent study by Sallie Mae, 84% of undergraduates said they needed more financial education.
  3. Credit unions that use financial education to guide young adults through these confusing times will gain their loyalty in return.

It’s that second point that’s most interesting… the average undergraduate senior leaves college with $4,100 in credit card debt AND wishes they had known more about managing credit and their finances. That’s where credit unions can make an impact with this demographic; by providing the desired financial education using relevant communication channels.

This is the main reason I’m psyched about my role here at CUNA. I get to help credit unions provide valuable financial information to my demographic using relevant methods such as the Web and in-person seminars.

We all know using a credit card isn’t difficult. It’s HOW to use a credit card that gets tricky. And that’s what I wanted to convey to folks my age with the video I produced for our new Seminar In A Box aimed at those starting out in life.  (Credit 101: Do You Pass the Test will be released this fall.)

Jeremy was awesome, and very candid. I wanted him to tell his story and offer advice based on his experience with credit. Hearing that message and discussing the situation with peers goes a long way and I think it amplifies the rest of the information presented throughout the seminar.

Check out this shortened version of the video…

Jeremy shares more compelling stories in the longer version that’s sure to resonate with the intended audience… like the story about his roommate’s use of credit, his episode with collections, how his credit problems affected his college career, and some advice based on his experiences.

Now it’s your turn… am I off base? Do you think young adults are a lost cause for credit unions? Are there better ways to reach them and gain their loyalty? I have lots to say about this subject–too much for one post–so let’s keep this conversation going!

2 Responses to “Undergrads Want Financial Education – What’s Your Credit Union Waiting For?”

  1. This is a great post Josh, and I fully agree that there is an opportunity for credit unions to educate young adults about managing money. In college I had plenty of random classes I was required to take and money management wasn’t among the requirements. Actually, when I was in college (graduated in 2001 from Penn State) we had to call in to find out what our grades were and the phone system would play 2 – 3 credit card ads before we could hear our grades. Combine that with the fact that students weren’t being educated on managing their money – it’s no wonder college students leave school with their start of credit card debt. I’m hoping the system at Penn State has improved since 2001, regardless of that, there is still a huge opportunity for credit unions to help create a generation of financially responsible young adults.

  2. Thanks for the comment Meghann… I agree, definitely an opportunity here. And CUs aren’t limited to young adults going to a four-year or two-year college. Tons of high school grads choose another path. Depending on where the credit union is located, they may have a larger number of younger members/potential members launching their life without pursuing a degree or certificate. Then it’s just a matter of determining how to grab their attention… and that’s a blog post in itself!


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