For students and Americans alike, lasting financial success is an elusive concept. According to Bill Fay of Debt.org, “American household debt hit a record $16.9 trillion at the end of 2022, up $2.75 trillion since 2019, according to the Federal Reserve.” This debt is primarily composed of credit card debt, mortgages, vehicle loans, and student loans, Fay explained.
To simplify: as of July 1, 2022, the United States Census Bureau estimated America’s citizenship to be roughly 3.3 trillion people. This means that if Americans were allocated an even portion of current consumer debt, over $50,000 would fall on the shoulders of every citizen. Indeed, 13% of Americans expect to live in debt for the rest of their lives, reports Shift Credit Card Processing.
Although incoming college students don’t usually take on as much debt as their seniors, financial health plays a large part in the overall wellness of individuals. For this reason and others, UVU has provided the Money Success Center for its students.
The Money Success Center, located in room 108 of UVU’s Keller Business Building, offers free financial planning and coaching for students from licensed professionals and peer mentors.
“Freshman come in [to the Money Success Center] a lot, especially because there is a lot of stress, just in all the changes they are going through,” shared Alisa Allebest, assistant director of the Money Success Center. “A lot of them are moving out of their houses for the first time, moving away from home, having to figure out how to live on their own, get along with roommates, go to school, do their homework, work, try to balance their expenses and income…so we like to say: ‘we are here to help students destress when it comes to their finances…’”.
On its website, The Money Success Center states its main goals are to “help students stay in school, graduate with minimal debt, and learn sound financial skills for the future.” Although every coaching session is different, Allebest explained, “We not only help them [students] make a budget to account for everything but give suggestions for ways to reduce some of their expenses…or point out things they [students] may not have thought of that they need.”
Allebest clarified that although the Money Success Center is not licensed to give financial advice, students can use it as an invaluable educational resource in explaining difficult financial concepts and determining whatever path is best for them.
When asked about additional advice she had for UVU students, Allebest shared, “If there is any stress or confusion around their [students’] money—if they are not budgeting and don’t feel like they have a handle on it—definitely come in. We can get them [students] set and squared away and set them a good foundation for the rest of college…”.
Allebest also recommended that if students were interested in learning more about personal finance, FIN 1060, a general elective would be a beneficial choice.