Financial Literacy

    UofL Graduate Student Financial Literacy

    As of March 2015, student loan debt held by U.S. households exceeded $1.2 trillion, and is expected to reach $2 trillion by 2022 (Brooker, Brown, Hannon, and Pence, 2015). Moreover, 2/3 of the nation’s student loan debt is held by people over the age of 30, and those over 30 have the highest rates of default and delinquency on their student loans (Quinton, 2015). Overall, two of every five graduate student survey respondents took out student loans to finance their graduate education (Denecke, 2016).   

    In response to these and other frightening statistics related to financial concerns, the Council of Graduate Schools, in collaboration with TIAA and 34 U.S. universities, collaborated on a protect titled, Enhancing Student Financial Education, to gain a better understanding of the state of financial literacy and financial education at U.S. colleges and universities.


     As a result of this project that ran from 2012-2015, researchers identified seven key findings:

    • Today’s graduate students face a variety of financial pressures related to money and debt management.
    • The financial pressures associated with graduate debt are often compounded by undergraduate debt.
    • While most graduate students do not borrow for graduate study, loans are an important source of financial support for many students, and the debt burden is greater for minorities.
    • Students with loan debt are less satisfied and more stressed about their finances and are more likely to incur private, credit card debt than their peers who do not take out loans.
    • Graduate and undergraduate students are at an optimal stage of life to receive financial education, as this is a time when they often begin to assume a wide range of financial responsibilities.
    • University financial education programs and resources are needed to help ease the financial pressures on graduate and undergraduate students, as the majority of today’s graduate students have had little or no prior exposure to formal financial literacy or financial education.
    • Finally, the current study demonstrated that collaborations, communication, outreach, and graduate school leadership increased graduate student awareness of financial education and increased participation in these programs to enhance financial and debt management skills (Denecke, 2016).


    In response, the UofL Graduate School (GS) works to educate and support graduate students in developing financial literacy. More specifically, through needs assessment, programming, collaboration, and resource sharing, GS supports graduate students in:

    • Understanding the value of a graduate education through career planning and the importance of graduating; 
    • Making and following a personal budget;
    • Understanding loans and credit;
    • Transitioning from student to employee;
    • Understanding and purchasing insurance;
    • Knowing how to plan for the future;
    • Being able to take personal responsibility and have a sense of personal agency for one’s financial situation.


    Below are resources to support graduate students in developing these skills:


    Money Smart Week

    Resources and Links




    The University of Louisville has partnered with Salt to provide resources and consultations related to financial literacy for UofL students. 

    Salt, powered by the nonprofit American Student Assistance® (ASA), features an easy online platform and one-on-one counseling to help you plan for, pay for, and repay the cost of a degree. Get the confidence you need to ensure a successful financial future with:

    • Guidance on the best ways to pay for school, so you can obtain a degree, but not the stress that comes with determining how to pay for it.
    • Personalized student loan help so you can make borrowing and repayment decisions that fit your life.
    • Money management advice and straightforward budgeting tools that build your financial skills.

    Why Is It Called "Salt"?

    Back in the day (way, way back in the day), salt was the universal currency. It's why Salt goes back to basics to give you universal info and smart strategies to help you take control of your money.

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    Money Smart Week

    Are you smart about money? Celebrate Money Smart Week @ your library with free financial literacy programming to help you better manage your personal finances. There’s also a scavenger hunt at the Ekstrom Library, with a chance for students to win money for college--the grand prize is $500, the second place winner will receive $300, and the third place prize is $200. Faculty and staff also can participate in the scavenger hunt for a chance to win a $100 gift card. To be eligible to win, you must have a current UofL ID and attend at least one of the sessions.

    Money Smart Week is a national partnership initiative between the American Library Association and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Money Smart Week at the Ekstrom Library is free and open to the public and is sponsored by the University of Louisville Libraries and Commonwealth Credit Union.


     More information about Money Smart Week can be found at


    Resources and Links

    30 Steps to Financial Wellness

    Budgeting Money while in Higher Education

    Smart about Money: Financial Planning Management Tools

    Council of Graduate Schools GradSense Financial Management Tools

     Cash Course: Your Real Life Money Guide

    NACE Salary Calculator

    Nerd Wallet Cost of Living Calculator

    Mint: See Where Your Money Goes

    NextAdvisor: Compare Different Types of Credit

    Feed the Pig: Tips and Interactive Tools for Saving

    Kahn Academy Better Money Habits

     Identify Theft Resource Center

    Financial Literacy and Money Management Videos

    Budgeting (2:00)

    Credit and Debt (3:52)

    Tips to Save Money (4:22)

    Investing for your Future (3:52)

    Saving Made Easy (3:15)

    Financial Literacy in College (6:02)

    Paying back Student Loans (2:01)

    How to be Credit Savvy (3:51)

    Finding Extra Money for School (2:49)

    Responsible Borrowing (2:19)

    4 Things You Don't Need for College (4:28)

    #1 Financial Mistake to Avoid (7:57)

    Getting Around (1:39)

    Finding a Job (17:57)

    Life Decisions (2:41)

    Graduate Degrees (25:12)

    Investment (13:04)

    Fraud (6:34)

    Retirement (11:45)

    Tax Man Max (3:23)


    Other Resources

    Annual Credit View credit reports from each of the three big credit agencies (Equifax, Transunion, and Experian) for free!

    Credit Karma: View credit scores at each of the three big credit agencies (Equifax, Transunion, and Experian) for free!

    Financial Literacy Guidance from Federal Student Aid (8-page PDF booklet)

    Comparing Federal and Private Student Loans (1-page PDF comparison chart)