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New Center for Financial Literacy promotes strong money management skills


Students, staff, faculty and community members gain financial skills through the Center for Financial Literacy

  • October 2, 2013

Would you rather save $1,000 a day for one month or double your money each day starting with one penny? This simple question can determine what you really know about managing money. Future CSUEB students are expected to become savvier about these and other  questions related to their own finances with the fall launch of the Center for Financial Literacy at Cal State East Bay.

“We understand that people at Cal State East Bay are educated and have the skills to know how to make money,” said Jagdish Agrawal, dean of the College of Business and Economics. “But many don’t know how to budget that money they’re making.”

CBE established the Center for Financial Literacy to provide opportunities for CSUEB students, faculty, staff and the community to learn and practice the skills and knowledge essential to successfully managing their personal finances. The stated goals of the Center are to contribute to the well-being of participants by improving their ability to plan for important financial milestones, increasing their financial independence and enabling them to confidently pursue their passions and goals.

“In the United States, more than 50 percent of people ages 22 to 29 do not have a budget,” Agrawal said. “I think this is due to the lack of training. It requires special skills to be financially literate, and it doesn’t come naturally.”

The Center for Financial Literacy launched its first program during fall quarter, an undergraduate personal finance course (FIN 2300). Freshmen will be trained on how to manage their money and make sound financial decisions by professors David Murray and Neil Librock.

The four-unit course fulfills the B4 or D section of general education requirements. To enroll, students must meet minimum score requirements on entry level math examinations.

“In class, we’ll go over things like money, banking, stocks, bonds and how markets work,” Murray said. “After we go over topics, students will be able to ask about personal investments.”

The list of practical topics students will cover in class also will include lessons on apartment contracts, insurance and buying a house or car.

“This class is going to be relevant at each stage of their life,” Murray said.

For fall quarter, the classes are 60 percent full, and Agrawal said he hopes students will encourage their peers to take the course next quarter.

CBE has a three-year plan for the Center of Financial Literacy. Objectives for the 2013-2014 academic year include branching out to the Hayward community to educate high school students and their parents about financial literacy. As the Center raises more money future plans call for the addition of a Financial Counseling and Learning Center, peer-to-peer workshops, financial literacy support groups, a financial speaker lecture series, an online financial literacy platform and faculty, staff and alumni services.

“I want to make sure that as many people as possible can become financially independent and learn the tools they need to gain lifetime financial literacy,” Agrawal said.

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