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Jennifer Schroeder: 2018 CashCourse Financial Educator of the Year Honorable Mention

Posted June 12, 2018 by Raven Newberry

Jennifer Schroeder is the recipient of an honorable mention in the 2018 CashCourse Financial Educator of the Year awards. Her work at Iowa State University is part of a large scale campaign by the Iowa Board of Regents to include financial education in their First Year Experience courses (FYE). Read more about her incredible work at Iowa State University.

About Jennifer:

Jennifer Schroeder currently serves as the Program Coordinator in the Student Loan Education Office at Iowa State University. Prior to that, Schroeder worked in the Office of Student Financial Aid at ISU for 12 years. Her tenure with the financial aid office has included general financial aid counseling, presenting at new student orientation, loan processing, aid awarding, aid appeals and much more. Working in the Student Loan Education Office, Schroeder focuses on financial education through budgeting, understanding credit, responsible student loan borrowing and successful loan repayment.

More recently, Schroeder has been responsible for administering the university’s newly required financial literacy training called Cyclone CashCourse. Cyclone CashCourse is required of all new freshman, not only at Iowa State but at all three of Iowa’s public universities. She is passionate about financial literacy and responsible borrowing. Schroeder received a B.A. in Finance from the University of Northern Iowa and an M.S. in Family Financial Planning from Kansas State University.

CC: Why do you think financial education is important for college students?

JS: I believe financial education is important for everyone, not just college students. No matter where you end up in your life or the path you take, there is one thing that is certain: we will all have money and we all need to know how to manage that money.

Students are becoming more cognizant of student loan debt and the impact that too much debt can have on their lives long after graduation. I think students want financial education so they can reach graduation with the least amount of debt possible while maximizing their other options. Some students might be afraid to ask questions or not even sure where to go. As a result, we can’t talk in jargon, we can’t expect that they understand the fundamentals of financial management, and we can’t expect them to come to us with questions. We have to get out on our campus to reach students where they are. We have to make financial education applicable and interactive, and we have to do so on a level they can understand and remember.

Financial education is important so students can understand all of their options. There are other avenues to finance a degree other than debt; students’ actual need for financial aid might be less than what they think. This goes beyond higher education; students as consumers need to know their abilities to borrow and repay and their rights and responsibilities. Opening the door to the foundation of financial education while in high school or college will hopefully provide students with the confidence they need to continue to learn, to ask questions, and to truly be their own best financial advocates.

CC: Can you share a story about the impact of financial education on your school’s campus?

JS: In 2016, the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, charged Iowa State University with researching, developing and administering a required financial literacy training. We piloted the program in spring 2017, and the program was eventually deployed on all three regent campuses during the 2017-18 year. In preparation for the pilot, we brought together a university committee including faculty, new student orientation, IT, the registrar, financial aid and students.

The president of student government was very passionate about this requirement. He informed the committee that students want this information. Students want to know how to manage their money, control their debt, borrow responsibly and save for their future. He was a champion for his fellow students and for financial education. It was impressive to watch him during our meetings because you could see he valued the initiative. He advocated for his peers and felt strongly that everyone should be financially literate when they left our institution.

2018