Course helps students learn to make good choices when it comes to money

Course helps students learn to make good choices when it comes to money
November 24, 2008

Phil Brozynski, Media Relations Manager
(630) 829-6094

Did you know that a student who pays tuition at a small, private college is throwing away $70 each time he or she skips a class? Or that someone who uses an ATM every day that charges a $3 service fee would save $1,095 by the end of the year if they used an ATM that did not charge fees (or better yet, did not use an ATM at all). Encouraging personal responsibility and the importance of making good choices when it comes to money is the goal of a course at Benedictine University, “MGT 391: Service Learning – Managing Personal Spending and Savings.” The eight-week, 2 credit-hour course teaches undergraduate students how to prepare personal budgets, manage credit and debit card spending, and use a journal to track spending and progress toward their savings goals. It also provides students a chance to share what they learn with more than 450 members of Junior Achievement (JA). The course is taught by Vicki Jobst, M.B.A., C.P.A., an instructor in the Undergraduate Business Department at Benedictine University. More than 30 students are enrolled in the course, including Madiha Hassan, a freshman from Glendale Heights. “The course made me realize how much I’m wasting my money daily,” she said. “Through journaling, I discovered that I spend most of my money on wants rather than needs. I could use the extra money and open a savings account or buy a certificate of deposit which would benefit me in the future. “I’m definitely trying to stick to my budget and achieve my financial goals,” Hassan added. Alice Wood, founder of Wealth Watchers International and a frequent contributor to the course, said that few people have a good understanding of personal finances. “We’re seeing a disconnect between a generation of savers and a generation of debtors reflected in our nation’s savings rate, which is now around zero,” Wood said. “Without savings, people have to fall back on their home equity and possibly retirement account if they have some sort of setback…and we’re seeing a record number of setbacks today. “Credit card debt is skyrocketing, foreclosure rates are exploding, and the rates at which people are filing for bankruptcy are breaking all kinds of records,” she added. “What we’re really trying to get across to students is the importance of personal responsibility and making good decisions when it comes to money.” The first four weeks of the class are a combination of onsite classroom instruction and online learning. During the second four weeks of the class, the students share what they’ve learned with middle school-aged students through the JA “Economics for Success” program. JA of Chicago has been providing quality economic education programs for nearly 70 years. With the help of more than 140,000 business and community volunteers, JA of Chicago has reached nearly 4 million students with hands-on learning experiences in the greater Chicago metropolitan area. Last year alone, JA of Chicago served more than 56,000 students in DuPage County and 369,000 throughout Chicago area. “One of our main pillars is financial literacy,” said Gina Dewald with JA of Chicago. “ ‘Economics for Success’ explores personal finance and students’ education and career options based on their skills, interests and values. It also demonstrates the economic benefits of staying in school. The college students who work with the youngsters serve as role models.” Benedictine students have been working with more than 450 JA members from Westlake Junior High School in Lombard, Roselle Middle School and at St. Petronille Parish in Glen Ellyn. “We hope to offer this course again in the spring,” Jobst said.


Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois, and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls nearly 10,000 students in 56 undergraduate and 19 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the sixth consecutive year in 2016. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org). For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, admissions@ben.edu or visit ben.edu.