Literacy Week To Teach Money Matter Basics

The Student Money Management Center will educate students on “commanding their cash” in a full range of financial areas during its Financial Literacy Week Feb. 23-27.

"Financial illiteracy is something that is prevalent in today's society; however, with today’s economy, students need to be even more financially savvy in order to stay out of financial trouble,” said Kristy Vienne, SMMC director.

“We want to expose our students to important financial information that they can take with them the rest of their lives,” she said. “More importantly, we want our students to practice responsible financial practices while they are in school so that they do not accumulate large sums of debt that they have a hard time paying back after college.”

Walter Bennett and Lori Lehman, from Huntsville’s First National Bank, will help kick off the week on Monday (Feb. 23) with a discussion on basic “banking products” such as savings accounts, as well as credit scores and how they affect borrowing money or getting a car or student loan to pay for college.

“Banking 101” will be held at 11 a.m. in the Lowman Student Center Theater.

From noon to 2 p.m., students will have the opportunity to catch some cash during the Money Booth Contest in the LSC Mall Area.

“Students can get a chance to go in booth to catch money, but it’s going to have a Monopoly-type spin on it,” Vienne said. “When they get out, they’re going to have to draw a card and it might say, ‘You owe Uncle Sam ‘x’ amount of dollars.’ There will also be chances for students to double their money because of ‘investing wisely or saving up.’”

The SHSU Financial Aid Office will provide students with information regarding financial assistance and will have computers available so students can complete their 2009-2010 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before the March 31 priority deadline.

The financial aid workshop will be held from noon to 2 p.m. in the Lowman Student Center Atrium.

“Students are encouraged to bring their filed 2008 tax information with them in order to complete the FAFSA,” Vienne said. “Students who complete their FAFSA during the workshop will be eligible for door prizes sponsored by the SMMC to be given away at the completion of the event.”

That evening, comedian James Cunningham will make money a laughing matter during “Funny Money,” at 6 p.m. in the LSC Theater.

During the informative, “‘fun’-ancial seminar,” Cunningham will teach students the essential skills in earning, spending and saving money properly, first guiding participants to financial stability and then taking it to the next level—achieving great wealth and prosperity.

On Tuesday, Edward Jones financial adviser Tyler Johns will help students in “Building a Strong Financial Foundation” by addressing budgeting and the basics of saving during at 9:30 a.m. in the LSC Theater, while Johns’ “Right on the $: Creating a Monthly Budget” will allow students to bring financial information such as utility bills, paycheck stubs, and other items with them to develop their own personal budget. The “come and go” session will be held from 2-4 p.m. in LSC Room 320.

At 12:30 p.m., Mark Leonard, program officer for the Local Initiatives Support Corporation’s Houston office, will address non-monetary forms of wealth during an interactive presentation in LSC Theater.

During “Real Wealth,” students will have the opportunity to hear about and discuss current issues of personal and societal values; raising issues about the changing economic, demographic and geopolitical realities; and taking an active role in shaping the future.

That evening, will “make it count” by giving students the “Ultimate Money Skills” at 6:30 p.m. in the LSC Theater. Among the broad range of topics that will be covered are budgeting, saving, credit cards and the average debt of college students, what is in a credit report, weekly spending tracking, selecting a bank and managing student loans now and after college.

Wednesday morning, author Tamara Draut will dicuss “why America’s 20- and 30-somethings can’t get ahead” during “Strapped,” at 11 a.m. in the LSC Ballroom.

At 2 p.m., scholarship office coordinator Paula Turner will show students how they can get free money for their education in the LSC Theater.

Scholarships 101 will include a presentation on where to find scholarships on campus, the application process and the importance of applying for funding through the ScholarX online application.

“ScholarX is literally a one-stop shop,” Turner said. “Students fill out the application form completely, and the scholarship software itself, based on criteria established by the administrators, will actually pull in the student’s application. So when they fill out that one application, it’s for hundreds of scholarships. It takes the guesswork out of it.”

Though the ScholarX deadline for the fall semester will have passed, Turner said she will also discuss other scholarship opportunities and why students should still apply using ScholarX even after the deadline.

Also Wednesday afternoon, Joe Braxton, from the Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation, will address identity theft at 3 p.m. in the LSC Theater.

“Identity theft is still pretty prevalent, and usually college students are one of the most likely targets because of their use of technology and purchasing on unsecure Web sites,” Vienne said.

Braxton will return to campus Thursday morning for a discussion on “Consumerism and Financial Literacy,” at 9:30 a.m. in the LSC Theater.

Students will have the opportunity to browse through SHSU vendors on Wednesday to ask the financial questions they “never took the time to ask anybody” during the Financial Literacy Vendor Expo Hall, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in LSC Room 320.

“We’ve invited the vendors to come back on campus, and students can go around and ask questions about things like credit scores,” Vienne said. “The vendors aren’t there to solicit; they can hand out product information, but it’s really giving students a chance to ask questions.”

At 11 a.m., students can learn the ins and outs of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid during a FAFSA workshop in the LSC Ballroom.

That afternoon, Caite Blount, from the Texas Dow Employees Credit Union, will teach students everything they need to know about credit scores during “Good Credit vs. Bad Credit” at 2 p.m. in the LSC Theater.

Finally, on Friday, students can pick up a free lunch with their financial literature from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the LSC Mall Area.

“Students can get free hot dogs and hamburgers, and we will give out brochures, books, worksheets and answer questions about the Student Money Management Center,” Vienne said.

For more information on any of the Financial Literacy Week events, call the Student Money Management Center at 936.294.2600, e-mail or visit



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SHSU Media Contacts: Jennifer Gauntt
Feb. 4, 2008
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