Serving Champaign, Ford, Iroquois and Vermilion Counties

The Financial Wellness program aims to help college students learn to manage their money effectively and make wise financial decisions. Financial decisions that young people make while in college can have a significant impact on their lives for many years.

All services to students are free. Students can chat with peer educators (by phone, email or video) to ask questions about personal finances and money management resources.  

    Financial Wellness for College Students focuses on practical money management skills and strategies to help college students plan spending, save money, use credit wisely, and build a solid financial foundation for long-term goals. This program is unique because it connects college students with peers who have been trained by Extension educators and other professionals to provide financial education outreach.

    The purpose of the Financial Wellness program is two-fold:

    1) to provide accurate, timely financial education to college students in a delivery mode that is appealing and accessible to them and,

    2) to provide college students interested in financial planning as a career option an opportunity to experience teaching financial management concepts and developing educational materials for peers.

    Topics Covered in the Program

    Presentations by the Financial Wellness Peer Educators in the past three years include topics such as budgeting, managing credit and debt, credit reports and scores, job benefits including retirement savings plans, and investing. Students who visit with peer educators commonly have questions about managing financial accounts, student loans, paying down debt, auto loans, as well as the topics covered in the general presentations. Students with problems that require legal assistance, in-depth counseling, or mediation with business will be referred to appropriate community and university services.

    The Role of Peer Educators

    Each semester Peer Educators develop outreach educational materials such as FAQs for the Financial Wellness website, special events such as a targeted workshop for new Treasurers of registered student organizations,  a series of posters that focus on positive financial practices (such as paying more than the minimum on credit card accounts), and bulletin boards for residence halls. An e-newsletter is also sent to subscribers. These educational materials developed by students clearly “speak” to other students in a way that non-targeted educational materials may not. All developed materials go through a peer-review process before distribution.

    To broaden the outreach of the Financial Wellness program, Peer Educators use social media including:

    Over the years, new partnerships have developed including the Graduate College at UIUC and USFCSO’s Student Money Management Center. Partnerships such as these increase our outreach effectiveness.

    Learn

    Financial Planning for Young Adults: The Massive Open Online Course, or MOOC, provides an introduction to basic financial planning concepts. It is open to the general public through Coursera, an education platform that partners with universities and organizations worldwide to offer courses free of charge.

    Get $avvy Webinar Series: Get $avvy - Grow Your Green $tuff is a webinar series addressing a broad range of financial topics created by University of Illinois Extension & University of Illinois USFSCO Student Money Management Center.

    Borrow

    CFPB- Student and Young AmericansA place where you can find the annual report on student loan complaints and share the roadblocks that you’ve faced on the path to pay off your debt. 

    FinAid! The Smart Student Guide to Financial AidQuality information about financial resources beyond government loans. 

    PowerPayA helpful tool to help you eliminate debt faster by giving the tool to develop a personalized debt elimination plan. 

    Spend 

    Getting Through Tough Financial TimesTips on how to save money on food and daily life. Too many bills to pay? Read about how to talk to creditors. 

    More for Your MoneyInteractive free website steps you through the process of setting up budget. Helpful tips for managing credit too. 

    Earn

    How much is your career worth? Find out how much you can earn in different careers in the United States. 

    Protect

    Check Your Credit Report For Free! The only website where you can request one credit report from each of the three main Credit Bureaus for FREE. 

    Is Your Financial Security at Risk? This is a personal risk management plan to help you assure that you are protecting the people you care about and give you a peace of mind. 

    Save & Invest

    Choosing a Financial Professional: Who should you consult with for financial matters? Learn how to find a good match for you. 

    University of Illinois SavesAs a part of the America Saves campaign to set up a saving goal. You can get access to savings resources through this website.

    Student Resources

    Office of Financial Aid and Veteran Services at Parkland CollegeFinancial aid assistance for students at Parkland College 

    Student Financial Assistance at Danville Area Community College (DACC)Financial aid assistance for students at DACC 

    The Office of Student Financial AidFirst stop for financial aid assistance at the University of Illinois. 

    USFSCO- Student Money Management CenterStudent Money Management Center provides financial education resources that aim to inform, educate, and empower college students about important financial topics and encourage them to participate in the interactive and engaging activities and events. 

    Borrow

    Credit Card Smart - Get Rid of Credit Card DebtThis article gives you ways of getting rid of your credit card debt and shows you the advantages and disadvantages of credit use. 

    Loan Repayment CalculationA useful tool to help you figure out your monthly loan payment. 

    Spend

    Financial Institution Comparison Chart for Your UseThis chart gives you instructions on how to compare financial services from different financial institutions. 

    How Can I Save on Groceries?: Great strategies for saving on groceries. 

    Making it on a College BudgetA customizable budgeting sheet to fit your needs. A great tool to plan out your college budget. 

    Questions to Ask When Planning a Study Abroad TripBefore you leave the country, ask questions about expenses! 

    Track Your ExpensesA handout you can use to track all your daily expenses. 

    Weekly Meal Plan IdeasSet up your weekly meal plan and grocery shopping using this useful chart.

    Save & Invest

    55 Ways to Save MoneyFinancial tips for students at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Find how you can save money under each category. 

    Small Changes Add Up!See exactly how those small expenses add up.

    SMART Goal WorksheetThe best way to work towards a goal is to make it SMART and write it down. Start here to reach your financial goals.

    Steps to Investing: Resource sheet that shows where to start for beginner investors

    For More Information