The shocking lack of financial literacy among undergraduate college students was the focus of a recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program.
Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Keith Gamble, chair of the Department of Economics and Finance, and MTSU accounting alumna Montgomery Barreto first aired Jan. 26 on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and www.wmot.org.
You can listen to their conversation via the Soundcloud link above.
Gamble and Barreto conducted a survey of undergraduate college students based on what personal finance scholars call the “Big Three” questions. These questions cover interest, inflation and risk diversification.
Their survey was designed to learn what percentage of students could answer the “Big Three” correctly, grouped by classification, college and grade-point average.
Barreto, an aspiring certified public accountant who graduated in December, said Gamble wanted to explore beyond the “Big Three” level to discover more about the students’ knowledge of their own financial situations.
“We also wanted to just dig a little deeper and ask students questions about their debt and what they knew about their debt, whether or not they knew what interest rate they would have, if they knew what their monthly payment would be after graduation and things like that,” Barreto said.
Stunningly, their research also determined that more than 60 percent of those surveyed didn’t know the interest rate on their college loans.
Between 35 and 41 percent of those surveyed in two separate samples didn’t know what their loan payments would be after graduation.
Gamble suggested that the transition from high school to college could be so overwhelming that students put their college loans and the requirements detailed in those legal documents out of their minds.
“When you’re starting at a new university, there’s so much going on that’s new in your life,” Gamble said. “It’s so different and so new that the loan part may have just gotten lost in the shuffle.”
Their study, titled “Increasing Financial Literacy among Undergraduate Students,” concluded that financial literacy courses at the college level would be the most effective tools to help students understand their personal finances.
The study is available to read here.
To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at www.mtsunews.com.
For more information about the radio program, contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.