Dean's Blog: Financial Literacy

March 5, 2019 - Dean Rachel Croson



The financial crisis of 2008 highlighted how interconnected our economic system is and, as a result, how fragile it can be.  But it also highlighted a deep level of financial illiteracy among Americans, many of whom had taken out mortgages, car loans or other debt that they could not, in the end, afford or understand. This challenge is also common on college campuses, with college students graduating with more debt than ever before. We are proud that at MSU over half our students graduate with no debt at all, and for those who do borrow, the average debt is well below state and national averages. Nonetheless, the national problem is enormous.

The College of Social Science believes that financial literacy is pivotal to transforming the human experience. The Department of Human Development and Family Studies’ course on Personal Finance course (HDFS 238) was always popular, but we didn’t have enough instructors to meet the demand.

A recent gift from MSUFCU has enabled us to hire another instructor and offer additional seats to expand our financial literacy offerings. In Fall 2017 and 2018 we offered a new introductory (2 credit unit) course for freshman and sophomores in coordination with the College of Business, and we now provide this pivotal education to over 1,000 students each year each Fall, Spring and Summer.

In addition, funding from MSUFCU and VISA have enabled us to offer drop-in sessions on financial literacy at Academic Orientation. Last year these sessions introduced these important skills to over 1,200 incoming students. This Spring we are planning an enhanced set of activities for MSU students, staff and faculty during Money Smart Week in April, the national week for financial literacy. We are grateful to our partners at MSUFCU, and at MSU’s Office of Financial Aid, for their expertise and resources in making this education a reality. Our mutual goal is that every MSU graduate leave college with the financial literacy and expertise to navigate their own lives, and to help their families and friends achieve financial success as well.

The College of Social Science is transforming the human experience by providing resources so that Spartans can succeed financially.


Sincerely yours,

Dean Rachel T.A. Croson