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Changing College Students’ Financial Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behavior through Seminar ParticipationAbstractBackground and SignificanceReview of the LiteratureThe Impact of Financial KnowledgeFinancial Attitudes and Financial BehaviorIndividual Characteristics Affecting Financial Knowledge, Attitudes, and BehaviorGenderEthnicityEmploymentFamily BackgroundObjectives of the Present StudyMethodProcedureParticipantsMeasuresNumber of Credit CardsLevel of DebtFinancial KnowledgeAttitudes Toward Credit CardsFinancial BehaviorsResultsNumber of Credit CardsLevel of DebtFinancial KnowledgeAttitudes Toward Credit CardsFinancial BehaviorsEffective Financial BehaviorsRisky Financial BehaviorsFinancial Knowledge, Attitudes Toward Credit, and BehaviorsDiscussionLimitations and Directions for Future ResearchImplicationsAcknowledgmentsAppendixReferencesORIGINAL PAPERChanging College Students’ Financial Knowledge,Attitudes, and Behavior through Seminar ParticipationLynne M. Borden Æ Sun-A Lee Æ Joyce Serido Æ Dawn CollinsPublished online: 27 November 2007 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007Abstract This pilot study examined the influence of Credit Wise Cats, a financial edu-cation seminar presented by Students in Free Enterprise, on the attitudes, knowledge, andintentions toward financial responsibility of college students (N = 93). Findings suggestthat the seminar effectively increased students’ financial knowledge, increased responsibleattitudes toward credit and decreased avoidant attitudes towards credit from pre-test topost-test. At post-test, students reported intending to engage in significantly more effectivefinancial behaviors and fewer risky financial behaviors. Finally, demographic factors (e.g.,gender and employment status) predicted students’ financial knowledge, attitudes, andbehaviors. These results suggest that a seminar format may be useful in reaching a wideraudience of college students and, thus, warrants future longitudinal evaluation.Keywords College students  Financial education  Financial knowledge Financial behavior  Financial attitudesWhen college lender Nellie Mae (2002) reported that 83% of undergraduates, who appliedto Nellie Mae for a student loan, possessed at least one credit card, financial advisors andeducators responded by pushing for more financial education on college campuses.Increased interest in financial education culminated in a 2002 Federal initiative, NationalL. M. Borden (&)  J. Serido  D. CollinsThe Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences, University of Arizona, P. O. Box 210033,Tucson, AZ 85721-0033, USAe-mail: [email protected] Seridoe-mail: [email protected] Collinse-mail: [email protected] LeeHospitality, Tourism, and Family & Consumer Sciences, Georgia Southern University, P. O. Box 8034,Statesboro, GA 30460, USAe-mail: [email protected] Fam Econ Iss (2008) 29:23–40DOI 10.1007/s10834-007-9087-2Partners for Financial Empowerment (NFPE), to provide practical financial knowledge toAmericans of all ages. While an increase in the development and delivery of financialeducation programs is a positive step in promoting financial knowledge, little is knownabout the types of programs that appeal to college students. This study used a pre–postdesign to evaluate the impact of seminar-instruction on basic money management skills onthe financial knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of college students at a university in thesouthwestern United States.Background and SignificanceDespite a 7% drop in the number of undergraduate student loan applicants possessing atleast one credit card (Nellie Mae 2004), experts remain concerned that undergraduates areunprepared to use credit wisely. Young adults often begin their college careers withoutever having been solely responsible for their own personal finances (Cunningham 2000;Nellie Mae 2002). This lack of experience may make them particularly vulnerable to boththe aggressive marketing tactics of financial institutions and the psychological costsassociated with high debt.College students are a lucrative market for financial institutions, both as a source ofimmediate revenue and as a way to establish brand-loyalty throughout adulthood (Amato-McCoy 2006). However, a lack of experience in financial management may be particularlyharmful to students’ financial futures (Nellie Mae 2002). Students may not realize theimmediate impact of credit card use, for example, the fee structures employed for creditcard use or the penalties applied for failure to live up to terms of use (Joo et al. 2003). Inaddition to the short-term effects, many young adults do not consider the long-term con-sequences surrounding the misuse of credit, including years of financial debt, low creditscores impeding future plans, and in extreme cases, personal bankruptcy (Holub 2002;Roberts and Jones 2001).Young adults also may be unprepared to effectively manage the psychological costsassociated with high debt; for example, increased levels of stress and decreased levels ofpsychological well-being (Norvilitis and Santa Maria 2002; Roberts and Jones 2001). Anadministrator from Indiana University asserted that their institution loses more students tocredit cards and debt than to academic failure (Commercial Law Bulletin 1998; Holub2002; Parks-Yancy et al. 2007). Indeed, high levels of debt have been reported among thestressors that led students to commit suicide (Holub 2002; Roberts and Jones 2001). Holub(2002) suggests that the accumulation of student loans, credit card debt, and lack offinancial planning for the future can be overwhelming for undergraduate students upongraduation. Thus, it is important for educators to assist college students in acquiringeffective money management practices, including regular review of bank and credit cardstatements, budgeting, disciplined spending, financial record keeping, and planning fortaxes, insurance, investment, retirement, and estate issues (Muske and Winter 2001).Review of the LiteratureThe Impact of Financial KnowledgeFor people lacking financial experience, financial education programs have been identifiedas a key to improving financial knowledge and promoting personal financial responsibility24 J Fam Econ Iss (2008) 29:23–40123(Elliot 2000; Fox et al. 2005; Peng et al. 2007). In a study of 924 undergraduates from 14college campuses, Chen and Volpe (1998) found that students with higher financialknowledge were both more


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