Illustration by Kaylee Stout / The Sunflower
While earning a degree is hard enough on its own, college brings along many other stressors— many of them being financial. Following a budget or filling out taxes are just some of the things that the Office for Student Money Management offers to teach students about for free.
“We help students become financially literate, which is especially important in college to not go into massive debt. We also help them throughout college with budgeting their finances,” Hannah Hoopes, office manager of OSMM said.
Some of the services offered to students through OSMM include helping students file taxes for free and creating weekly budget sheets or budget sheets to graduate college with less debt. The office also helps students with building credit, locating external financial education resources, saving money for a goal, or counseling any student who is struggling financially.
For questions about existing scholarships and tuition bills, OSMM sends those students to the financial aid office.
“College is already pretty stressful without finances, so with finances it becomes more stressful,” Hoopes said. “We want to help them make smart decisions so they are not spending all of their money. If they have loans or a bad credit score we want to ease their stress and get them prepared for after college.”
OSMM also designed a free two-credit hour course located on Blackboard called “Financial Wellness and Money Management.” The course teaches students about first steps in a financial journey, a chance to reflect on their own finances, and additional financial resources in the community.
“Essentially, it is designed to make you more financially literate,” Hoopes said. “You can complete it whenever you have extra time. A lot of first year seminar professors are requiring it of their students. It shows us where you are at in your finances and gives you a good realization.”
OSMM had to move their appointments online instead of in person due to the pandemic. Hoopes said that they are hoping to have a physical location in the RSC in the near future.
“Before COVID-19, we were planning on getting a Rhatigan Student Center room and just letting students walk in and helping students with their taxes,” Hoopes said. “We would be able to help multiple students at a time. We are trying to expand more on campus and reach a bigger audience.”
Hoopes said students are always grateful for the help that they get from OSMM, and feel a sense of relief when they are able to fix their financial stressors.
“A lot of times when we are able to help students you can instantly see them take a breath of fresh air and say, ‘Ok, I’m done with that’ so I think they feel a weight lifted off their shoulders,” Hoopes said.
If students are interested in scheduling an appointment with OSMM, they can email [email protected].