Money matters

by Cara Bas

FM’s Evans Library not only offers books, but financial literacy resources for students and the community as well.

The program is part of Smart Investing at Your Library, a national network sponsored by the American Library Association and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Foundation.

With a grant received earlier this year, Evans Library has hosted workshops and developed a portal called “ Step Up to Smart Money,” which provides lessons, videos and interactive budgeting exercises. The portal features sections on financial literacy and financial aid.

Library Director Mary Donohue said the library was granted $91,000 for Web development and presentations, because the financial aid default rate is high.

Librarians Mike Daly and Daniel Towne developed the Web portal, and FM business professors Mark Swain and Alexandra Henderson have given presentations. An example was one given at Campus View pertaining to saving for retirement and daily life budgeting.

Margaret Monsour, a Smart Investing coordinator at the American Library Association said, “Whether you’re a student, a parent, a child, a senior or a veteran, the library is the best place to find unbiased financial information delivered by trained staff who make the connection between people and resources.”

“People don’t like to talk about money, and there is so much financial counseling out there, you don’t know who to trust,” Donohue said.

FM hosts “Smart Borrowing” presentations for students applying for loans and FAFSA workshops, in which parents can work on applications with their children and financial aid specialists.

Expansion and long-run financial literacy are two of the goals on the Smart Investing network.

Donohue said, “By the time we are in the second year, we hope to have a series of financial literacy presentations.”

“We want to expand to other communities. The goal is to become a regional program,” she said.

Monsour said a goal is to “achieve sustained usage of the resources even after the grant is gone.”

According to Donohue, more on-campus presentations are in the works, and students are encouraged to use these online resources.

FM Financial Aid Coordinator, Rebecca Cozzocrea said that financial aid specialists visit campus housing to help students apply for and budget funds.

FAFSA help is also available for all students at the financial aid office.

“Anyone can come and use our computers and we will help them. We want them to know they can come in and get help,” Cozzocrea added.

In its eight years, Smart Investing has established over 100 programs throughout the United States. Programs extend beyond the campus to public libraries and 11 area high schools.

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