November is Financial Literacy Month. Financial literacy is an essential life skill, and professors in the School of Business have done some research into how to help educate students about it.
When three School of Business profs asked students about where they turned for information on their finances, the answers didn't add up the way they had hoped.
“Overall, the results of our study indicate a clear need for better financial literacy education, consistent with the findings of numerous studies across different countries and demographics,” says Dr. Dorothee Feils, associate professor, who worked with Assistant Professor Michelle Malin and Associate Professor Dr. Eloisa Perez.
The study, “An Exploratory Study on the Effectiveness of Alternative Teaching Approaches to Increasing Financial Literacy of Undergraduate Student,” surveyed a small group of business students early in their undergraduate program to determine their level of financial literacy.
In the survey, the professors asked the students about the type of resources they used to increase their financial literacy and most said they used Internet searches. While there is a lot to be found online about this topic, the sheer volume can make finding the information students are looking for overwhelming. The professors recommend students learn how to deal with one issue at a time, like how to create a budget.
While they acknowledge that students are incredibly busy, setting aside some time to sit down in a seminar and actually talk about financial facts can have a major impact. From the survey results, the profs found that students who attended financial seminars seemed to perform better when answering general financial literacy questions. (Incidentally, MacEwan is hosting its own financial literacy week, with workshops on topics students expressed they were interested in, including budgeting and managing debt).
MacEwan’s Financial Literacy Series
The Financial Aid Office presents a series of one-hour information sessions on financial literacy. All MacEwan University students are invited.
From this work, Dorothee, Michelle and Eloisa are developing a research stream to identify the best ways to increase financial literacy among post-secondary students. “We intend to test the students’ financial literacy pre- and post- using one of the different methods of increasing financial literacy, like seminars, webinars, online lectures, workshops, books and online information,” says Dorothee. They anticipate that the results of the study will help educators find better and more effective ways of teaching students about financial literacy.
“Financial literacy is an essential life skill that has the potential to measurably improve the students’ lives,” Dorothee says. “We want to help students get the best start possible.”
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