Baylor President, Student Body President Join Texas Attorney General In Launching Financial Literacy Initiative To Help Texas College Students

  • News Photo 5041
    (L to R) Baylor President Ken Starr, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and Baylor Student Body President Michael Wright.
    (Matthew Minard/Baylor Photography)
  • News Photo 5042
    Baylor President Ken Starr, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and Baylor Student Body President Michael Wright held a news conference Jan. 27 announcing initiatives to assist students with financial responsibility.
    (Matthew Minard/Baylor Photography)
  • News Photo 5044
    (L to R) - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott speaks with Dr. Jim Roberts, professor of marketing at Baylor's Hankamer School of Business. Roberts is one of the nation's leading researchers on compulsive spending and credit card use among adolescents and college students.
    (Matthew Minard/Baylor Photography)
  • News Photo 5043
    President Starr and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott spoke with reporters following a news conference on financial literacy for college students.
    (Matthew Minard/Baylor Photography)
Jan. 27, 2011

Follow us on Twitter: @BaylorUMediaCom

NOTE: Streaming video of the news conference is available here.

Joined by Baylor University President Ken Starr and Student Body President Michael Wright, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott held a news conference Jan. 27 on the Baylor campus to bring attention to a major challenge facing today's college students: credit cards and credit card debt.

Under a recently enacted Texas law, state colleges and universities must educate their students about personal financial management, an area in which Baylor - as noted by the Attorney General's office - is ahead of the curve. The Attorney General's Office developed the money management materials - which Baylor includes in its new student orientation program, as well in several other areas - to help higher education institutions satisfy the new legal requirements and educate students about smart financial decision-making.

During his stop at Baylor's Mayborn Museum Complex, Attorney General Abbott discussed how the training materials will help Baylor's students avoid financial problems right after graduation.

"High-interest credit card debt is an increasingly burdensome problem for Texas college students," Attorney General Abbott said. "Like educators, parents and students, the Attorney General's Office is committed to a Texas that offers its youngest generations a bright future that is ripe with economic opportunity. The 'Money Crunch' DVD that the Attorney General's Office developed will help educate college students about their personal finances so that they start their careers on solid financial footing."

"Attorney General Abbott has long been a vigorous supporter of improving financial literacy among today's college students," Starr said. "We [as universities] also need to show some initiative ourselves, and Baylor has. We believe in financial literacy for all of our students in helping our young men and women come to financial sophistication early on. Indeed, it begins Day One. Orientation for new students at Baylor University begins essentially with a crash course in financial responsibility."

Starr noted several of Baylor's initiatives, including:

    • Educating students during orientation about unwanted credit card offers and providing them with a service that helps them "opt out" of these offers filling up their campus mailboxes.

    • Protecting students from aggressive credit card companies, which are not permitted to set up on Baylor's campus and solicit students with unwanted credit card offers.

    • Offering the Attorney General's entertaining and informative "Money Crunch" video, which is available to students through a link on Baylor's Student Financial Services website. The video also runs continuously in the lobby of the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.

    • Providing students with a link to Baylor University's "CashCourse", which offers valuable tips about financial responsibility during and after college, from basics such as budgeting and financial planning to how to make informed decisions about insurance and job offers.

In his remarks, Wright - a senior Baylor Business Fellow and economics major from Houston - said the rising cost of higher education and the current economic downturn has made financial literacy among all students more important than ever.

"Affordability is only half the economic battle that our students face. Today, we mark our dedication to the second half of that battle - to give students the tools and knowledge necessary to responsibly manage our finances, both while in school and beyond graduation," Wright said. "On behalf of the students of Baylor University, we are very appreciative of the proactive spirit Baylor has taken to address this issue. I hope that other colleges and universities across the great State of Texas and all across the country will join us and the Attorney General in this effort."

In 2007, after hearing concerns about college graduates' increasing debt burden, Texas lawmakers enacted legislation that requires public colleges and universities to include financial counseling in their new student orientation programs. Specifically, educational institutions in Texas that designate an on-campus credit card marketing location must adopt policies that incorporate credit card and debt education - including information about debt counseling - into new student orientation.

To help Texas colleges and universities comply with state law, the Attorney General's Office developed financial education brochure templates and provided them to each public college and university provost.

The Attorney General's Office also created an audiovisual resource to help educational institutions comply with the debt counseling education requirement. Relying on grant funds obtained through the National Association of Attorneys General, the agency produced a 14-minute, award-winning DVD entitled, "Money Crunch."

The "Money Crunch" DVD advises college students to avoid common credit card pitfalls and adopt five financial management guidelines:

Know each credit card's terms.

    • Make timely payments and pay more than the minimum due.
    • Understand the credit card's fees, including late fees and interest rates.
    • Protect personal and financial information.
    • Read and understand the credit card contract.

"This is a very important subject for our students and their parents," Starr said. "We thank Attorney General Abbott for joining us here at Baylor today and for his consistent efforts to help college students across the great State of Texas avoid the trap of burdensome debt."

For more information about Attorney General Abbott's financial education initiative, including the related brochure, "Financial Literacy: Advice for College Students about Credit Cards," visit the agency's website at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.

Baylor contact: Lori Fogleman, director of media communications, (254) 710-6275

Looking for more news from Baylor University?