2019 Honorable Mention

2019 CashCourse Financial Educator of the Year Honorable Mention: Kathy Czech

Kathy Czech currently serves as the assistant director of financial literacy and student employment at St. Catherine University in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Czech has held this position for six years, and in this time period she has helped students find ways to earn and manage their money. She oversees a Peer Money Mentorship program that includes the training of student mentors and financial counseling of students. The program also hosts speaker series on personal finance topics relevant to the college student audience, and Czech has presented to over 700 students in the last year alone. Read on to learn more about her work.

CC: Tell us about yourself.


KC: I have worked at St. Catherine University in Saint Paul, Minnesota, for 11 years. I started in the Career Development Office, then moved to the Financial Literacy Office. I have been the assistant director of financial literacy and student employment for the last six years, and have enjoyed every minute of it! My role combines helping students find ways to earn money, then guiding them on how to manage it. I hold a bachelor’s degree in English from Western Michigan University and am a certified financial educator through the University of Minnesota.

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


KC: We all know that collegiate costs are very high and today’s students are graduating with burdensome student loan debt. Additionally, students are inundated with other expenses and temptations to spend that didn’t exist 15 years ago. It wasn’t the norm to have a personal cell phone, as is the expectation today. Campus computer labs are increasingly difficult to find as students are told they need their own laptops or pads. Entertainment extras also tempt students - Spotify, Netflix - and video gaming, for instance. Uber and Lyft are becoming expensive replacements for public transit. It’s so difficult for young people to juggle college costs, the technology expenses, the desire for entertainment and transportation. More than ever before, students need guidance evaluating needs against wants, and determining what is necessary to successfully complete college and to go on to live financially fruitful lives.  

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


KC: Ever since St. Kate’s adopted a financial literacy program in 2008, our average default rate has steadily decreased. Our institution’s three-year cohort Fiscal Year 2015 default rate was a low 3.1%, compared to the national average of 10.8%. By doing a fantastic job with student loan repayment, our students are maintaining their good credit and buying power – I’m so happy and proud of them! The Money Management Office, Financial Aid, Admissions, and Multicultural Office work together to ensure our students understand their student loans and repayment. Together we promote financial education and we have positively impacted our students’ ability to stay out of default, which feels amazing!