College students need to become financially literate

By and

Editor:

The Chronicle editorial opposing the financial literacy requirement is full of faulty reasoning leading up to an incorrect conclusion (“We don’t need a finance requirement!,” March 31). It begins by claiming that we already have too many classes required for graduation. Then it contradicts itself by claiming we need more required diversity classes.

While we at PIA support the diversity requirement, we feel that in addition to teaching students about a variety of cultures and ideas, a college education should also play a role in giving young people the practical skills they need to function successfully as citizens and contributing members of society.

No one should graduate from college without having a clue how to balance their checkbook. The skills that can be learned in a financial literacy class, unlike material taught in many other classes, are useful on an everyday basis for people’s entire lives. We think that’s pretty important.

The Chrony should take the growing problem of financial illiteracy seriously. Even the U’s mission statement incorporates the goal of fostering social responsibility, which certainly would include personal fiscal responsibility as a component.

“This knowledge can be learned at any stage of life,” the editorial states.

Would you rather have students learn it early in life, or learn the hard way by having bankruptcy disrupt their lives down the road?

Couldn’t the diversity or international requirements also be learned individually, at any stage in life? Of course they could, but the university is in a unique position to provide these important skills to its students.

This issue deserves far better solutions than condescending suggestions that those who need help learning how to manage their money should just pick up a generic how-to book at Barnes & Noble or change their major to business for the sole reason of learning to stay out of debt.

Rather than simply passing the buck or criticizing efforts to address this issue, let’s work together to identify ways to make our campus and greater community a better place.

Richard WhippleCo-Director Public Interest Advocacy

Amber JacksonCo-DirectorPublic Interest Advocacy