By Kayla Hedman ’14 / Champlain College News
BURLINGTON, VT – iGrad, a college graduate digital resource for money, jobs, career and internships, recognized Champlain College as one of 24 of the most innovative financial literacy programs at colleges today in its “2012 Financial Literacy Compendium.” The Compendium was published to spread awareness about the need for improved financial literacy education in this country, and to share advice from colleges that are setting the bar with top initiatives. iGrad honored institutions, including Champlain College for demonstrating a dedication to improving financial literacy education.
Champlain College’s Life Experience and Action Dimension (LEAD), part of Champlain’s professionally focused “Integrated Education,” offers a Financial Sophistication track, led by staff instructor Mike Fife. The track offers mandatory workshops for first-year through senior students helping them access and understand their credit scores and create a peer-to peer financial counseling network with the help of other local resources. The track hosts two large ‘Credit for Life Fairs’ each semester, as well as six live and two online workshops on topics such as ‘Buying Your First Car.’ Champlain is part of only 13 percent of schools offering financial literacy education that makes it mandatory for their students.
LEAD’s Financial Sophistication track is unique in that it uses a peer-to-peer format. This format has made difficult topics easier to discuss and peer-to-peer panels and Q&A have dramatically increased student reviews and participation. “Many people feel that they know the basics and are financially stable without realizing what they are truly responsible for doing, what the real costs of inaction are, and how much expert advice can help,” said Fife. “A lack of financial literacy training during an undergraduate’s education could lead to higher unsecured debt loans, bad credit, and delayed retirement savings. College is a great opportunity to require that students educate themselves on this important topic.”
Champlain College’s deep-seeded passion for ensuring the success of their professionally focused students helped fuel the creation of Champlain’s Center of Financial Literacy (CFL) in December of 2010. The Center is a partnership between Champlain and several Vermont financial institutions that hope to increase financial literacy in classrooms across the state, ensure college students graduate with the skills to make sound decisions about spending, credit and investments, and help adults navigate difficult financial situations like buying a home and saving for retirement. The Center also advocates for more financial education opportunities at the local, state and national level.
John Pelletier of Stowe, director of the Center for Financial Literacy at Champlain College, is a former chief operating officer and chief legal officer at some of the largest asset management firms in the U.S. Pelletier says a lack of knowledge about credit, investing and financial planning is at the heart of the recent economic downturn.
“The Great Recession demonstrated that our citizens struggle when making complex financial decisions that are critical to their well being. Some of our economic problems were created by bad actors, focused on personal gain, but so many others were created by good people making poorly informed personal financial decisions,” he noted.
The results of the project have been published in pdf format. The pdf can be downloaded at http://www.igrad.com/articles/?best-college-financial-literacy-programs
For more information about Champlain College’s Center for Financial Literacy, visit the website: http://www.champlain.edu/center-for-financial-literacy-x13547.html
About Champlain College: Since 1878, Champlain College has provided career-focused education to students from its hilltop campus in Burlington, Vt. Champlain's distinctive educational approach embodies the notion that true learning only occurs when information and experience come together to create knowledge. Champlain offers traditional undergraduate and online undergraduate courses, along with online certificate and degree programs and eight master's degree programs. Champlain offers study abroad programs at its campuses in Montreal, Quebec and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain College is included in the Princeton Review's "The Best 376 Colleges: 2012 Edition." Champlain was named a "Top-Up-and-Coming School" by U.S. News & World Report's America's Best Colleges and is ranked in the top tier of 2012 Regional Colleges in the North. For more information, visit www.champlain.edu.