Financial literacy program launches at Hilbert College

Building good financial habits and steps to avoid piling up debt will be the focus of a new financial literacy program expected to kick off this fall for Hamburg, NY-based Hilbert College students.

The program will be funded by a three-year $750 AIG Credit Counseling Challenge Grant awarded to the Hilbert Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) organization. Hilbert is among 120 SIFE teams across the country selected to receive the grant to run education sessions on credit issues.

Hilbert SIFE will team up with the college's Office of Financial Aid to offer a financial literacy speaker series featuring experts in the field who will cover topics such as expectations in paying back student loans, responsible use of credit cards and other financial strategies. SIFE will also educate students on the basics of personal finance.

"Learning good financial habits now will enable students to become financially solvent in the short run and pay lasting dividends for the rest of their lives," said Daniel Roland, Hilbert SIFE director. "Developing financial and personal money management skills are fundamental to students avoiding a level of indebtedness that could negatively impact their financial future."

Hilbert student Steven Furnagiev of Hamburg, who will manage the financial literacy program, agrees that mastering the basics is vital to addressing personal finance issues and building and maintaining good credit.

"It's important for students to realize that although it's tempting to accept credit card offers the end result can be detrimental to future financial security should they spend well beyond their means. Many college students are unaware of how quickly they can fall into the dangers of spending more than they can afford," said Furnagiev, a sophomore accounting major and Hilbert SIFE vice president.

As part of receiving the grant, Furnagiev represented Hilbert at a three-day training conference in New York City to learn more about credit issues. The conference, said Furnagiev, "educated me on basic personal financial management skills and the importance of making informed financial decisions, information which will be essential to Hilbert's financial literacy program."

With Hilbert's successful completion of the three-year program, a student will be invited to participate in a SIFE Credit Counseling Day in 2010 where students will be recognized by AIG for their achievements in credit counseling education.

Founded in 1975 and headquartered in Springfield, MO, SIFE is a global partnership between business and higher education that mobilises university students on more than 1,400 university campuses in 47 countries to address real-world business and economic issues in their communities. For more information about SIFE, visit the organization's Web Site.

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