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Warning to parents: Scary story
MU students get (and give) lessons about managing their college debt now and after graduation

Morgan Yoder ’15, exercise and fitness major, talks about college financing with Kimberly Carey, student account specialist.
(Click on photo for enlargement)
Related links:
The Bottom Line
Financial Aid at MU
Help put Students First!

More pictures from this article:

CUT UP YOUR CREDIT CARDS, shun shopping malls like the plague, take the bus and live with your parents for three years after college.

Bet THAT makes our alumni parents shiver in their boots.

Some students in Associate Professor Frank Olive’s Financial Responsibility class last January presented the “parent solution” for their final project. Living off your parents, taking the bus to work and forgoing travel for three years will clear your
college debt, they surmised.

Frankly, students in the class also were shuddering.

Life lessons in personal finance fill the Manchester experience … from financial aid counseling to the packed Financial Responsibility classes to students lobbying legislators for state aid to annual spring lectures by President Jo Young ’69 Switzer,
who doesn’t sugarcoat:

“Regardless of your major and your career, big or small paycheck, every single one of you will need to manage your finances. Be clear about the difference between your wants and your needs. We don’t need everything we want. Ever thought about that?

“A big house, the latest in skinny jeans, fancy foods and drinks, a new car – are wants. We need protein. We want steaks. We need water. We want Pepsi. We need a way to travel. We want our own cars …”

Switzer’s lecture – always to a packed room – is filled with solutions for managing student debt. Nowadays, she even hands out free books on personal finance. One time, a student was waiting at the stage afterward, handing the president her credit cards, cut up in little pieces. An instant convert.

“There are several ways that ‘the Smiths’ can immediately help themselves and get out of debt faster than the rate that they are currently getting there,” explained Brittany Thomas ’15, Quentin
Muehlich ’15x
and Matthew Gray ’14 in their class presentation for Professor Olive last January.

Consolidating debt was key in their report, which included detailed spreadsheets for a fictitious couple. They also offered lots of suggestions echoed by President Switzer: Cut entertainment, dining, recreation and travel expenses dramatically. Reduce the wants.

Each year, about 170 MU students create models of debt management for FIN 204, a three-credit-hour Financial Responsibility course taught by Olive and Jen Lutz, associate professor of accounting and business; and Dave Haist ’73, lecturer. The class is part of MU’s CORE curriculum of responsible citizenship that teaches the importance of establishing credit, managing and reducing debt, budgeting and long-term money management.

“These students, acting as a team of ‘financial advisors,’ have produced a detailed analysis of a realistic financial situation facing a married couple,
recently graduated from college,” says Olive. “They have developed a set of solid recommendations that can enable their ‘clients’ to eliminate or greatly reduce their debts and move forward to meet their long-term goals.”

The students showed how “the Smiths” could quickly climb into the black within a couple of years while saving for the future. (Their solution did not
include living with their parents.) “I learned that it is wiser to live off less money than is made, and to focus on things needed and not things wanted,” says Gray, a communication studies major from Anderson, Ind.

Devin Jenkins ’14 is among hundreds of students who have learned financial responsibility by handling their own money during their time at Manchester. An accounting major, personal money management may
come easier to Jenkins than others. She works for the MU Office of Student Financial Services and has completed an internship with Crowe Horwath LLP, which was so impressed, it offered her a job – three
semesters before she takes her CPA exam.

Jenkins credits Manchester’s scholarships, financial advising and two campus jobs for making her money management less stressful. “MU provided me with the chance to take a Personal Finance class, which
helped me learn more about the different types of student loans, credit cards, mortgages and investment opportunities after graduation,” she says.

“The SALT program helped me manage the status of my student loans and provided me with a portal to learning more about different types of debt as well as options for repayment.”

A recipient of Trustee, Gilbert Memorial, and McGradrey and Pullen Fund scholarships, Jenkins lightened her expenses by fulfilling some of
Manchester’s highest academic standards when she enrolled. But she knows she will have some debt after graduation.

Every Manchester undergraduate student receives financial aid from a variety of sources. Indeed, Manchester consistently receives high praise from popular guides for college-bound students as a “Great College, Great Price” or “Best Value.” MU students graduate with about $5,000 less debt than the average private college graduate.

Without any aid or scholarships, Manchester’s undergraduate tuition, room, board and fees total about $36,250 this academic year. Books are another $1,000, but can cost more, depending on the major.

Last year, the average need-based financial aid package totaled more than $24,000, including more than $4 million in scholarships funded by generous donors. (The Students First! campaign seeks $15 million for endowed scholarships to increase opportunities for students to attend MU.) Federal and state aid round out the package the University’s
financial aid counselors create for students.

In addition to part-time jobs on and off campus (400 students are on the MU payroll), students turn to their grandparents and proud aunts and uncles, troll for corporate and service club scholarships, and ask their parents to take out loans. Savings rarely are sufficient.

For Jenkins, her Manchester degree is priceless. “Manchester is worth the money because it is known for producing well-rounded and educated young business professionals. When I talk to professionals in the accounting and finance industries, one of the first things they say when they find out I attend Manchester is ‘Great choice!’”

Three years ago, psychology major Andrew Kirts ’13 chose Manchester partly because of the financial aid package. “I earned the Trustee Scholarship as a first-year student and then received an additional
endowed scholarship and other awards in the following years. Manchester worked with me to give me the aid I needed.”

Kirts’ stellar academic career at Manchester paid off – he will graduate this spring debt free.

BY CHAZ BELLMAN ’13


 

The Bottom Line

Manchester has a legacy of affordable higher education, recognized by the leading guides for college-bound students as a “Great College, Great Price” and “Best Value.” Here’s why:

Scholarships, a Manchester tradition
Every year, MU awards more than $4 million in academic scholarships. In tough financial times a couple years ago, department leaders cut their budgets so Manchester would not have to cut aid to students. Endowed scholarships help make Manchester affordable.

MU speaks up
“Education is an investment in the future. It is worth saving for. It is worth borrowing for. Today, nearly all motivated students can find a way to afford college if they are willing to make sacrifices,” President Switzer wrote in one of several opinion pieces about financing higher education published in major Midwest newspapers. Every budget year, MU students lead the charge to the Indiana Statehouse, where they explain what state aid means to their families and what they plan to do with their
Manchester degree.

SALT
Manchester inaugurated this high-tech service of American Student Assistance that puts students in the financial driver’s seat. Students manage their loans and practice for the “real world” with online scenarios on consolidating their debt, planning financial success and even finding jobs. And, it’s free.

Fast Forward and Triple Guarantee
Qualified, motivated MU students can get their degree in three years, saving tuition, room and board and entering the job market (and pay) a year early. Manchester also guarantees aid for every student, graduation within four years and a job within six months of graduation.

In this issue
Some of our finance lessons really touch where we live
from the president

BCA Abroad
A 50-year learning journey around the globe

We are U
Sometimes, the more things change, the more they stay the same

Pharmacy
Classes are under way for Manchester's newest class and faculty

Lessons in Finance
How Manchester helps students curb debt

Friends for 50
Every year like clockwork, they've reunited

Philanthropy 101
Dr. Philip '48 and Mary '50x Orput invest in Manchester

Profiles of ability and conviction

A headless skeleton, old pictures and a theory
 

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