Students rely on financial wellness program for money questions and to alleviate the stress that follows


Kate Menzies

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Students rely on financial wellness program for money questions and to alleviate the stress that follows

Finances can be a touchy issue for college students.

Between juggling tuition costs, bills and additional spending money, students have a lot on their plate and at times it can be overwhelming.

That is why UND created the Financial Wellness Program to assist students in making financial decisions. Since its inception in February 2013, the Financial Wellness Center has proven to be a huge success among students.

At the center, students are free to ask peer counselors confidential financial questions to alleviate stress and better prepare for their futures.

One such student is Maggie Shay, a freshman communication major from Alexandria, Minn. She has had nothing but positive experiences with the Financial Wellness Center.

"The Center is accessible, welcoming and filled with friendly students who have gone through the same thing you are going through," said Shay.

The meetings are designed to help students better understand the financial obligations they are/will be faced with.

"I went in with many questions about financial aid and work study and also about budgeting out finances for the rest of the year," Shay said. "They gave me tons of information about how financial aid and work study work, and helped create a plan and strategies to stay financially stable for the rest of the year."

It is this personal one-to-one interaction that helps students feel more at ease.

"Each year, numerous students enter college with little to no knowledge on how to manage their finances," said Kiley Wright, a Poland, Ohio, native, who is finishing up her master's degree in communications. "From my own experience and what I've heard throughout the years, it's usually because parents and guardians are just flat out uncomfortable with the subject, plain and simple."

"If students don't receive a proper education on the subject, they're going to be steered in the wrong direction with it," Write continued. "Because of this, we need to work on establishing resources where students have access to a proper education on finances. That is why having this center is so important."

When it comes to issues such as budgeting, loans and credit, the Financial Wellness Center has access to a wealth of resources to arm students with the knowledge they need to solve their financial problems.

UND is one of the few universities in the nation to have established such a program. One unique aspect is that is linked to UND Health & Wellness rather than Student Account Services like other college financial assistance programs. This is because of the health implications that money stress can cause.

The Financial Wellness Center soon will be relocating to the Memorial Union. While in the Union, the Center will be exposed to more foot traffic, and with any luck more students will become aware of the many services the Financial Wellness Center has to offer.

Whatever the financial issue, you can bet your bottom dollar the counselors at the Financial Wellness Center are willing to tackle it.

Kate Menzies University & Public Affairs student writer

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