MTSU’s Financial Literacy Month features scholarsh...

MTSU’s Financial Literacy Month features scholarship incentives, keynote, multiple events

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — To provide a bit of extra incentive for more undergraduate student participation, Middle Tennessee State University is offering thousands of dollars in cash scholarship awards as part of its annual observance of Tennessee Financial Literacy Month.

Sponsored this year by the Jones College of Business’ Department of Economics and FinanceMT One Stop and Ascend Federal Credit Union, this year’s month of activities will also feature a host of events to help students hone their finance and budgeting skills for the short and long term and even delves into issues such as navigating the world of cryptocurrencies and the increasing use of artificial intelligence, or AI, in financial decisions. 

Activities are already underway, so students can see the full slate of events and details of the scholarship competition by visiting the Financial Literacy Month webpage or going to

Dr. Stuart Fowler, Economics and Finance professor, interim chair
Dr. Stuart Fowler

“It is surprising how little households devote to their savings,” said Stuart Fowler, associate professor and chair of the MTSU Department of Economics and Finance. “A 2020 Board of Governors report found that over one-fourth of households have no retirement savings. And more than 6 in 10 of those not yet retired felt that their retirement savings were NOT on track.”

To assist with emphasizing the importance of financial planning, keynote speaker Michael “Bootcamp” Thomas will visit campus for a free public talk from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, in the Tennessee Ballroom of the James Union Building, 516 Alma Mater Drive.

A United States Army veteran, previously licensed financial advisor, retired battalion chief, and a certified John Maxwell speaker, trainer and coach, Thomas will share his story and outlines a plan that you can use to achieve success. He is author of the book “Financial Literacy Boot Camp for Teens and Young Adults.”

Michael "Bootcamp" Thomas, guest speaker, Financial Literacy Month 2024 (Submitted)
Michael “Bootcamp” Thomas

Born into extreme poverty and surrounded by drugs and violence, Thomas learned first-hand the challenges and obstacles that young people can face, but through determination, hard work, and a commitment to service, he overcame those challenges and found success in his life. 

Keith Gamble, professor of finance and director of the MTSU Data Science Institute, applauded the state’s decision to extend the traditional Financial Literacy Week into an entire month, an effort spearheaded by MTSU economics professor Charlie Baum in his role as a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives.

Dr. Keith Gamble, chair, economics and finance
Dr. Keith Gamble

Gamble noted that the purpose of the monthlong observance is to “emphasize the importance of intelligent financial decision-making” — and this year organizers are adding significant financial incentives for undergraduate students to attend more events and engage in month’s goal.

“We have an outstanding set of events planned for MTSU students. We have scholarship money available this year to students who attend multiple events and submit a one- to two-minute video stating what they learned and how they will apply it in their lives,” Gamble said. “We will award several scholarships this year totaling $10,000. The maximum scholarship award for an individual student is $1,000.”

Deadline to submit the video is April 21 and can be uploaded through the Financial Literacy Month webpage by clicking on the “submit” button.

Dr. Maria Edlin King, Director, Center for Economic Education (Tennessee Council on Economic and Free Enterprise Education)
Dr. Maria Edlin King

Meanwhile, Maria Edlin King, director of the Tennessee Council on Economic and Free Enterprise Education in the Jones College of Business, has coordinated a visit to campus by a group of high school students to directly interact with keynote speaker Thomas.

Earlier in the day before his April 10 public talk, Thomas will work with high school students from the classes of teacher Michael Morrow of Lead Southeast High School in Nashville and teacher Ann Stewart of Stewarts Creek High School in Smyrna in a closed event. Then on Thursday, April 11, he will be conducting workshops with MTSU veterans and dependents from the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veteran and Military Family Center.

“Typically the Council focuses on teaching the teacher to get that wholesale/multiplier effect, but we also find it productive to bring high school students here to expose them to the MTSU campus environment and the many possibilities for them to attend one of the best universities in this part of the U.S,” King said. 

“Many students either see MTSU as their backup school or completely out of their reach. We want them to be in our environment and see the possibilities for their future as a MTSU graduate.”

Said Fowler: “We aim to help our community consider taking positive steps toward making sound financial decisions. One of the other things we are also proud of is our relationship with Ascend Federal Credit Union, as they have once again partnered with us to provide this vital programming.”

Off-campus visitors attending the keynote event should obtain a special one-day permit from MTSU’s Office of Parking and Transportation at A searchable campus parking map is available at

For more information, email Gamble at

— Jimmy Hart (

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