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Financial literacy important for young adults

Illustration by: Jordan Gurley | Star Illustrator

April 15 was the filing deadline for the United States income tax. All across campus students were heard discussing the proper way to go about filing taxes or if anyone going to the university even made enough income to file.

This day prompted a lot of confusion and stress for the young people on this campus and nationwide. The widespread panic highlights a larger issue prevalent in this generation of young adults.

In high school, teachers often stressed that they were tough not because they wanted to be but because they were preparing students for the “real world.” Many students are now taking those steps into the real world. As the years progress, it is clear the tools students should have been taught have more to do with personal finances and less with calculus.

Having a solid educational foundation in basic subjects is an important part of being a well-rounded adult. However, learning how to do calculus instead of how to balance a checkbook is proving to be a detriment. Everyone needs to know how to take care of his or her personal finances, but not everyone needs to know how to do the Pythagorean Theorem.

According to the Texas State website, the University Seminar course is designed to provide for “transitional needs” of new university students. The class, US 1100, is mandatory for all students who have completed fewer than 15 hours of college credit and is supposed to help them cultivate the skills needed for “lifelong learning.”

The idea behind this course is admirable. Unfortunately, the reality is often that this class ends up being a waste of resources and time. University Seminar instructors could take advantage of the mandatory nature of the course to impart real-world knowledge to students instead of running a glorified book club.

Implementing these changes could be as simple as taking a month to discuss personal finance management techniques. Topics to be discussed could include how to file personal income taxes, how credit cards work or what exactly a mortgage is. Some high schools have home economics courses that teach students important skills. A revised seminar course could be like home economics for university students.

Lauren Stotler and Tyler Burton, the new student body president and vice president, expressed interest in establishing a financial literacy program for incoming freshmen. According to a Feb. 19 University Star article, Stotler and Burton plan on making this class their first area of focus as new campus leaders.

The editorial board is hopeful the administration will be successful in implementing this program and making strides toward improving the financial literacy of Bobcats campus-wide.

In the meantime, a lack of information on an institutional level is no excuse for ignorance overall. Online resources for financial literacy include CNN’s Money 101 and blogs like The Simple Dollar.

Even if university officials do not revise the US 1100 course to inject more realistic and viable information, students should take it upon themselves to learn what they need to know.

Being financially stable is an important part of growing up, and students must make sure they have a firm grasp on financial information before stepping out into the real world.