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Success Stories: Iowa CashCourse

Iowa four-year universities using CashCourseAll incoming freshmen at Iowa’s public four-year universities now receive financial education before they even arrive on campus, thanks to the combined effort of key university faculty and staff and NEFE’s CashCourse program.

“Regardless of whether their new students have had financial education in high school or not, Iowa’s major universities are making sure they will get personal finance basics in college,” says Amy Marty Conrad, director of CashCourse.

All freshmen and transfer students at Iowa State University, the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa now have a financial literacy requirement through CashCourse, focusing on budgeting and money management, spending and financial decision making, credit and debt, and financial aid and student loans. Although the requirement is primarily administered online, the campuses also have an in-person component in the form of peer mentors and on-campus support services.

The initiative represents a concerted effort to build the right team of people across the university system. Implementing new large-scale university requirements can be a challenge, including resistance from administration, funding concerns and response from students. However, by organizing local teams at each university, creating interdepartmental partnerships, and presenting a thorough, research-backed plan to university leadership, the Iowa team got approval for a pilot program in 2017. The success of the pilot and positive feedback from students helped launch the program in 2018, and the team continually monitors and refines its implementation based on experience.

“NEFE is proud of Iowa’s commitment to student financial education and is pleased to support the partnership between the university system and CashCourse,” says Conrad.

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