Tag: Cindy Cowell

FinanceU Is Most Exceptional!

At the 20th Annual Student Leadership Awards on Friday, April 18, FinanceU received the honor of Exceptional Program of the Year.  FinanceU, an event in financial literacy put on by the Office of Financial Aid and the School of Business and Economics’ Finance Club on November 20, owes some of its success to its partnership with Michigan Tech’s Office of Financial Aid and Wells Fargo Bank.

The Finance Club and the Office of Financial Aid have partnered to produce the successful FinanceU events in order to help students make informed financial decisions.  FinanceU’s mission is to foster a greater sense of financial literacy among all students, regardless of major.  Topics discussed at this year’s event included financial aid opportunities, how to manage one’s personal finances, starting and continuously funding a substantial retirement plan, and provided students with online tools to help manage all of these aspects.  Financial Aid Advisor, Cindy Cowell, and Wells Fargo Store Manager, Ellie Freeman, were on hand to answer questions from audience members, but the main focus of the event was for students to present information to other students, since research shows that individuals are better able to understand a message when it is delivered by a peer.

This second consecutive FinanceU event held at its roots the same message as last year’s activity; Michigan Tech students were given the knowledge and power needed to enable them to begin making sound financial decisions before even graduating from college.  Similar to the previous year’s event, a survey was administered to participants, asking them to rate their knowledge of budgeting.  This year’s FinanceU event was so successful that the number of participants doubled, with over 200 students completing the surveys.

Brett Ludwig, 2013/2014 President of the Finance Club was extremely proud of FinanceU’s accomplishments.  “With this year being the second time FinanceU has put on the event,” Ludwig remarked, “we were hoping that it would be bigger and better than last year.  Mission accomplished.  With Donzel Dixson [Finance Club member] on the bullhorn outside, the flow of students coming to the booth as well as Finance Club members going throughout the library to ask people questions were astounding.  We’re excited to host more events in the future.”  Ludwig will be graduating in a few weeks, but will leave the Finance Club in the capable hands of Heath Johnson, 2014/2015 President.


Finance Club Fosters Financial Literacy on Campus

On November 20th, the Michigan Tech Finance Club in partnership with the Michigan Tech Office of Financial Aid and Wells Fargo held the second edition of FinanceU at the R. Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library. In line with the 2012 edition, this event aimed at fostering financial literacy on campus and was specifically tailored to students, regardless of class and major. It offered advising and information related to personal finance, financial aid opportunities (e.g. grants & scholarships), the relevance of starting  a retirement plan as early as possible, and useful tips on how to benefit from several online tools such as CashCourse – a free online personal finance program sponsored by the Alumni Association.

Students were asked to complete a short survey covering areas such as their current method of budgeting, Federal Direct Student Loan knowledge and any additional areas that they may have questions in. Financial Aid Advisor, Cindy Cowell noted “as a piece of our financial literacy initiative on campus, the financial aid office is pleased to partner with the Finance Club to implement programming designed to increase the financial literacy of Michigan Tech’s student body.” The club does an effective job of promoting the message to students that topics such as  budgeting, credit, responsible borrowing and retirement are critical to know in order to remain on a financially stable path.  Financial education now will enable students to make sound financial decisions and enable them to live the life that they desire later.

Well Fargo Store Manager Ellie Freeman also participated in Finance U noting that it is a great opportunity for students to ask questions, because it is a casual environment without any pressure. Freeman also added, “it’s important to know while you are in school the importance of building credit in a positive manner.” She also recommended that students have a minimum of three savings accounts: long term, short term, and 3 months salary. This event is great because it brings together people who have a great deal of knowledge about financial planning into one place that is easily accessible by students.

Financial Aid Advisor Cindy Cowell talks with a student about personal financial management.

The partnership between Financial Aid and the Finance Club is effective in delivering a critical financial message to Michigan Tech students. For example, hearing about a topic such as retirement and the need to start saving at a young age, is received by students much more readily when the message is coming from a peer. Michigan Tech students often have the opportunity to contribute to a retirement plan as part of their co-op job benefits. We hope to educate students to take advantage of these kinds of financial opportunities at as young an age as possible.

The Finance Club and partners collected 165 surveys this year-- double what they collected the previous year!

This event is the outcome of the continued efforts by the Finance Club and the Office of Financial Aid to foster financial literacy on campus. Dr. Oliveira said “our fantastic Finance Club members put significant effort to disseminate to their fellow students, knowledge and resources available either at MTU or in the world wide web that can significantly impact the betterment of personal financial management.” This year the Finance Club has also invited the local Wells Fargo manager to share her experience with tailoring retirement plans according to each individual’s life stage and goals. Oliveira also noted that the students’ interest and participation has been outstanding this year.  The Finance Club collected 165 surveys on finance-related practices and demographics this year –  an increase of 100 relatively to the prior year. Besides disseminating information our club members get a chance to practice their communication skills and ability to test their know-how with real world questions. We are looking forward to learn from this year’s experience and continuously improve this annual event.