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College Students Call on Schools and Financial Institutions for Improved Financial Education

National Survey Finds Students’ Confidence in Managing Money Waning, More Financial Literacy Needed

New Haven, CT – July 27, 2010– College students need better financial literacy education and they think their schools, banks and other financial institutions are the ones who should be providing it, according to a national survey released today by Higher One Holdings, Inc.

Nearly 70 percent of the students polled believe that their colleges and universities need to increase financial literacy initiatives and expand programs that teach students the skills they need to successfully manage their money. Similarly, 85 percent of the students surveyed believe that banks and other financial institutions should be doing more to encourage and enhance money management skills.

When asked about who should provide personal finance education, more than three times as many students responded that they believe their school is responsible than those who think it is their parents’ responsibility.

“If the economic crisis and student debt statistics dominating headlines have taught us one thing, it is that financial literacy must be made a priority for educators at every level and for executives across industries,” said Mary Johnson, Financial Literacy and Consumer Advocacy Program Manager for Higher One, a financial services provider that works with colleges and universities. “We have to adopt a proactive approach to teaching students money management skills and arm them with the resources needed to encourage and ensure a successful financial future. Students are looking for guidance—that is why my team and I are dedicated to providing it.”

Additional findings from the survey show that the U.S. college students polled lack the basic financial knowledge needed to successfully manage their money, leading over 57 percent of student respondents to report that they currently have some form of credit card debt. In fact:

  • More than half of the college students who responded admit that they were late paying bills this year
  • More than half of the college students who responded don’t know how much money they should set aside for an emergency savings fund
  • More than 70 percent of the college students who responded don’t know how to access their FICO score to check their credit standing and see how their past financial behavior will impact their future finances

According to the survey, though 60 percent of respondents believe the responsibility is ultimately in their hands, their confidence in their own ability to manage their money is decreasing. The percentage of respondents who claimed that they were confident or very confident in their financial management skills was the lowest reported in three years, leading many students to look for outside resources to aid in their financial education. This is supported by the fact that 80 percent of students who responded got at least three answers wrong in a 10-question financial literacy quiz.

With over three-quarters of the survey respondents reporting that they save less than five percent of their income and over half of students saving less than one percent, the need to teach the importance of financial planning and money management on college campuses is not only apparent, but welcomed by students across the country.

Students are increasingly aware of the need to be financially literate and are eager to learn. When asked which areas of financial management they were most interested in learning more about, savings, budgeting and maintaining good credit topped the list. When asked where they are most likely to look for information on managing their money, the college students polled responded that they most often turn to websites and financial experts for help.

“Now, more than ever, students need tools to help them manage their money, avoid unnecessary debt and make smart financial choices,” said Johnson. “The sooner our next generation of professionals can master these skills, the better the future will be for us all.”

About the Survey:

The Higher One Survey was conducted in May 2010 among 2022 students nationwide. All of the survey respondents are enrolled in four-year universities, community colleges or two-year vocational schools that use services provided by Higher One. Response frequencies were measured for each of the questions and the data was independently analyzed using the SPSS statistical package.

About Higher One:

 Founded in 2000, Higher One (NYSE: ONE) is a leading company focused on helping college business offices manage operations and provide enhanced service to students. Through a full array of services from refunds, payments, electronic billing, payment plans and more, Higher One works closely with colleges and universities to ensure students receive Financial Aid refunds quickly, can pay tuition and bills online, make on-campus and community purchases, and learn the basics of financial management. Higher One provides its services to more than 4.6 million students at distinguished public and private higher education institutions nationwide. More information about Higher One can be found at HigherOne.com.

Media Contact:

Elissa D’Orazio






Before Higher One, our students only had one way to get their refunds, and that was by paper check. With Higher One processing refunds for us, it has allowed us to provide more options for our students without having to enter and store student banking information. We also no longer have to handle sorting, stuffing and mailing thousands of checks.Suzanne ClaggettUniversity of West Florida
Higher One’s experience with college students and their focus on serving colleges distinguishes Higher One from all other financial service providers. We really liked the fact that the community college customer base is expanding for Higher One.Carla Chance St. Louis Community College

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