The floor of the Student Government Association transformed into an unofficial forum yesterday when the Director of Bearkat OneCard Services introduced the concept of a student Money Management Center and fielded questions from curious senators.
Director Kristy Vienne envisioned a center capable of teaching students how to save, spend and invest their finances.
Vienne brought the concept – which is still on the drawing board – to SGA first and will continue to spread the word about the center until a decision is made.
“We want to make sure the center is something students would approve of,” she said.
The Money Management Center’s objectives would include providing daily money management counseling, presentations, bringing experts to campus and collaborating with academics, Enrollment Management and Financial Aid to broaden its services.
Vienne imagined the center having professional counselors working with students on daily spending activities, balancing checkbooks and investments.
Long range goals for the center would include reducing the amount of debt among graduates and better preparing students for their financial futures.
She said that students often find themselves living at home after college because they cannot handle their monthly student loan payments and other expenses.
“I want to provide a center that can help you stay away from a situation like that,” she said.
She said that the concept came from Texas Tech’s “Red to Black” and University of North Texas’ “In the Green” money management programs.
UNT’s program has had a 1000 percent consultation increase since its establishment. She said it has resulted in similar centers elsewhere.
Students and senators had many questions about a possible money management center. One senator asked if third party investors or sponsors would affect the type of advice the center would give students.
Vienne said the center “would not be soliciting any bank or brokerage firm,’ but if outside professional help was needed, the center would make an appropriate recommendation.
“If we couldn’t handle the situation on the inside, we could refer to the outside,” she said.
Another student asked if the center would be a mandatory service.
Vienne responded by saying that the center would be open to compulsory organizational involvement such as Sam 126 classes and First-Year Experience. The center would, however, be voluntary for students.
Questions regarding the cost of the center, as well as the manner in which it would be funded, were also raised.
Vienne said research on the cost of the center is not yet complete. She said that if the center where to be funded by a student service fee, however, it would cost students an estimated $10 to $25 a semester.
Vienne also envisaged a possible private fee for the center.
The location of a money management center was also discussed. Vienne said that there has been talk about finding room in the Academic Building V once it is completed next year, but a set location has not been foreseen.
“We want to bring something that is first class,” Vienne said.
Vienne pressed the importance of student feedback during the presentation. She said that feedback and the free sharing of ideas is an important part of the process.
A senator actually introduced a new concept for the center after the presentation. He said the center could present students with personal money management certifications upon completion of a program.
Vienne said such a certificate would be beneficial if included in a students’ resume or portfolio.
Right now, a Money Management Center is in the drawing stages. SGA President Christopher Whitaker said that if the decision were made to begin the project, then steps such as calculating the exact cost, finding funds and a location, and hiring professionals would come in the future.
Whitaker said the Bearkat OneCard Services came to student government with the project because they want student feedback.
“If there is going to be a fee involved, they want student’s approval before they do it,” Whitaker said.
For more information – or to submit ideas or feedback – contact Director of Bearkat OneCard Services Kristy Vienne at KLV002@shsu.edu.