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November 29, 2012

MADISON, WI — The Associated Students of Madison University Affairs Committee held a Town Hall on Financial Literacy tonight in the Student Activity Center. Students were able to ask questions of speakers from Financial Aid, Summit Credit Union, Working Class Student Union, and the School of Human Ecology. ASM’s University Affairs Committee held the event to create strategies to expand financial literacy on campus. With around 30 students in attendance, discussion was centered on the lack of information that many students have when they come into college in regards to their finances. Questions were asked about learning how to budget and handle individual bank accounts, as well as smart financial choices in the independence of college.

Chris Smith, Branch Manager of Summit Credit Union, stated that his bank ‘believes anyone can be financially successful’.  When a student asked what one of the number one concerns he sees is with student knowledge and understanding of finances, Smith responded, “Being aware of what the cost of banking is, is something that many students struggle with”.  Summit helps students to compare their financials across the board at many institutions.  Allowing students to better understand maintenance fees for accounts that they may have previously been unaware of is a key element in financial readiness.

Michelle Curtis, Associate Director at the Office of Student Financial Aid, wanted students to be aware of the many services her office provides. There are 10 counselors available every day for appointment scheduling with a financial advisor in regards to questions, comments, or concerns from students on campus.  In response to a student question on why more students don’t visit the office, Curtis stated that she ‘encourages students to come with questions or application for financial aid anytime as it is not too late to do so’.  Chair of Working Class Student Union, Dena Ohlinger, stated that the Working Class Student Union assists students with support and advocacy when it comes to communicating with Financial Aid.  Some students may feel uncomfortable reaching out to the office and need support to feel empowered in handling their finances.

Mary Prunty, an ASM Intern who planned the event stated, “I’m very happy with the amount of students that came, and think our discussion was very productive. We hope to take students concerns further and advocate for them, especially in providing a clear option for tax help.”

Inquiries should be directed to David Gardner at 952-356-5807.

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