Before Students Sign on the Dotted Line: Help Them Make Smart Financial Decisions

Posted on May 10, 2012 by Phil Martin

We need your help.

On Thursday, May 10, the White House hosted a Financial Capability Summit to shine a spotlight on the importance of helping Americans, and particularly young Americans seeking a college education, make smart decisions about financial matters. One result is a new draft “Financial Capability Toolkit” – which is designed to be a resource guide to help schools, colleges, communities, and employers design a strategy to help students, workers, and community residents make wise decisions that put them on the path to a strong financial future. Leaders of this effort in the White House and here in the Department of Education want feedback on this toolkit before it is released in final form.  Please check out these two sections – one for K-12 schools (link) and another for institutions of higher education (link)  – and kindly share your reactions and suggestions below. In addition, please visit the White House website where you can, if desired, submit feedback on the entire document:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/webform/financial-capability-toolkit-tell-us-what-you-think

The Department of Education would like to extend special thanks to members of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) and responding grantees in the Department’s Student Support Services program for their ideas that helped inform the higher education section of the toolkit.

We urge all interested parties to download the toolkit and customize it to suit your needs. We’d also love to hear what you’re already doing and what you plan to do to improve the financial capability and expertise of the students you serve.  And remember, please tell students: don’t sign on the bottom line until they understand exactly what they are signing and all alternatives have been considered.

Phil Martin is a Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of the Under Secretary of Education.

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