Listerhill, UNA form financial literacy center

Listerhill and UNA are partnering up to form the Center for Financial Literacy. This partnership will assist students in understanding financial issues such as budgeting, student loans, and checking and savings accounts.

The Center for Financial Literacy will be offering free student checking and savings accounts, free debit cards, online banking, mobile banking, and the “oops” refund feature that will refund overdraft fees for up to five times in a year.

“The primary goal is to educate students when it comes to personal budgeting, spending wisely, borrowing responsibly, and learning to establish credit while encouraging them to save for the future,” said Heather Brown, director of the Center for Financial Literacy.

The center will be located in the upcoming Academic Commons Building, Brown said. Upon visiting the center, a student can expect help with transacting business, withdrawing and depositing money and practical financial advice.

The center will help students with any questions or concerns about balancing their checkbooks, using online and mobile banking services, filling out student loan applications and managing any student loans, Brown said.

The center will teach students how to create and stick to a budget, how to manage their money and spend it wisely, how to make their own financial decisions and how to save for the future, she said.

Brown said that, usually, high school curriculums skip over personal money management skills, leaving college students unprepared to keep up with their spending and confused by complicated loan application processes. The main focus of the Center for Financial Literacy is to prepare students with a financial knowledge to be successful, she said.

Many students receive large lump sums of money in refund checks from the university and might have trouble managing the money, Brown said.

“The concentration of this partnership is to help students learn to make a budget now and how to be wise (with their money) in the future,” she said.

The average college student graduates from a four-year university with a student loan debt ranging from $11,000 to $32,000, according to studies by The College Board Advocacy and Policy Center.

“We want to help students learn to manage that debt and not incur more,” Brown said.

Students who take advantage of these opportunities for assistance with money management and budgeting will benefit from the services offered, she said.

Brown said the center will also provide several job opportunities for students; officials are working closely with Career Planning and Development through LionJobs to employ full-time UNA students.