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Contact Us

Kathy Sweedler
Extension Educator, Consumer Economics
University of Illinois Extension
801 North Country Fair Drive
Suite D
Champaign, IL 61821
Phone: 217-333-7672
FAX: 217-333-7683
sweedler@illinois.edu

Ya Ning Katherine Mei
Program Coordinator, Family and Consumer Sciences
University of Illinois Extension
801 North Country Fair Drive
Suite D
Champaign, IL 61821
Phone: 217-333-7672
FAX: 217-333-7683
ymei4@illinois.edu

Financial Wellness For College Students

Financial Wellness For College Students

1. About Us

University of Illinois Extension’s Financial Wellness for College Students program focuses on practical money management skills and strategies to help college students plan spending, save money, use credit wisely, and build a solid financial foundation for long-term goals. In 2008, University of Illinois Extension began a partnership with the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics and the Division of Campus Recreation at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to develop a peer educator financial wellness program. Peer Educators are trained by Extension educators and other professionals to provide financial education outreach to students through presentations to student organizations, through discussions with students one-on-one, by developing online targeted resources, and through social media use.

The purpose of the Financial Wellness program is two-fold: 1) to provide accurate, timely financial education to college students in a delivery mode that is appealing and accessible to them and, 2) to provide college students interested in financial planning as a career option an opportunity to experience teaching financial management concepts and developing educational materials for peers.

Presentations by the Financial Wellness Peer Educators in the past three years include topics such as budgeting, managing credit and debt, credit reports and scores, job benefits including retirement savings plans, and investing. Students who visit with peer educators commonly have questions about managing financial accounts, student loans, paying down debt, auto loans, as well as the topics covered in the general presentations.

Each semester Peer Educators develop outreach educationalmaterials such as FAQs for the Financial Wellness website, special events such as a targeted workshop for new Treasurers of registered student organizations,  a series of posters that focus on positive financial practices (such as paying more than the minimum on credit card accounts), and bulletin boards for residence halls. An e-newsletter is also sent to subscribers. These educational materials developed by students clearly “speak” to other students in a way that non-targeted educational materials may not. All developed materials go through a peer-review process before distribution.

To broaden the outreach of the Financial Wellness program, Peer Educators use social media including:

Over the years, new partnerships have developed including the Graduate College at UIUC and USFCSO’s Student Money Management Center. Partnerships such as these increase our outreach effectiveness.

For more information about the Financial Wellness for College Students program, please contact Kathy Sweedler, Consumer Economics Educator, University of Illinois Extension, sweedler@illinois.edu; (217) 333-7672.