Clark Serves Up Tools to Feed Need for Money Smarts

By Michael Ceron in News

To a college student, the difference between top ramen for dinner and a full fridge can be budgeting.

Clark College is working to increase student financial literacy through a new program led by financial specialist Craig Ebersole.

Clark recently received a grant that allowed them to hire Ebersole as a financial literacy coach according to Barbara Jo Ivey, program support supervisor for the Clark Career Center.

“I would love to see financial literacy be the cool thing to do,” Ebersole said.  “That is my goal.”

Ebersole hopes to help students become more financially literate through one-on-one counseling and student success workshops. He hosted his first seminar this quarter focused on budgeting.

Starting Spring Quarter, students will have the option to attend three different seminars that cover budgeting, understanding credit and smart banking.

“A lot of us don’t learn how to manage our money growing up,” Ivey said. “Mom and Dad took care of the budget, so sometimes you just need some help learning how to do that.”

The budgeting workshop will cover creating a budget and “treating savings like a bill,” according to Ebersole.

Students can also schedule one-on-one appointments Tuesday through Thursday with Ebersole to create a personalized budget.

“The first thing I show students is to establish a goal for life,” Ebersole said. “When you have your goal established that gives you a reason to actually save money.”

The credit workshop will cover how to use credit and credit cards to your advantage.

“Credit is a tool, the same way that a hammer is a tool. You can hurt yourself with a hammer the same way you can hurt your credit with a credit card,” said Ebersole.

He hopes to show students that they do not have to be afraid of credit cards.

Ebersole is pushing for students to become more familiar with SALT, a financial program that Clark partners with.

“I was a Clark student and we never had the SALT program. It was never promoted when I was going to school,” Ebersole said. He has become familiar with SALT to help students navigate through the program themselves.

Ivey said that while Clark promotes financial literacy in the past through workshops and programs like SALT, faculty was not able to focus on it. Hiring Ebersole changes that.  “That is all he does,” Ivey said.

The Career Center hopes that this new approach will allow students to become more financially independent.

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