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Saint Mary’s $avvy program looks to spark awareness of financial literacy

| Tuesday, February 20, 2018

$avvy Financial Literacy Program offers free workshops and educational activities for Saint Mary’s students who want to bolster their understanding of how to manage their money.

The program aims to provide participants with financial education without forcing them to add credits to their schedules and take an additional course, assistant director of financial aid and director of $avvy Megan Stearns said. She said the program, which started in August 2015, aims to continue its mission of informing students about the realities of life after graduation by teaching them about personal finance.

“Our goal is to prepare students for the financial decisions they face now and after graduation,” Stearns said in an email. “Of course, at the heart of $avvy’s goal is to increase the financial savvy of our students.”

Students can participate in workshops hosted throughout the semester, each focusing on various personal finance topics, Stearns said. These sessions are accompanied by free online resources provided by CashCourse, a website offering lesson overviews, practice quizzes and self-paced assignments — all intended to synthesize users’ understanding of personal finance topics such as budgeting, investing, saving, financial aid and credit. February’s $avvy event, titled “Money Management: Actions You Can Take Today,” gave students a quick overview of personal finance topics such as creating and maintaining a budget and managing student loans, Stearns said.

Throughout the academic year, this initiative also awards five $1,000 scholarships to undergraduate students who have attended at least 50 percent of the meetings and have completed all of the required CashCourse assignments for each month.  Each event also offers door prizes such as gift cards to Target and locations on Eddy Street Commons.

Stearns said she hopes these incentives engage the Saint Mary’s community in this educational opportunity. She said she feels confident students participating in the $avvy Financial Literacy Program will walk away with the small, valuable pieces of financial advice that will serve them well into the future, for Saint Mary’s aims to provide its students with a comprehensive understanding of the world around them and the obstacles they may encounter.

“Pay yourself first,” she said. “Track expenses. Check your credit report. Come up with a plan to pay down debt. These are all simple actions that can go a long way towards having a stable financial future.”

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