When it comes to financial literacy, students at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) are at a distinct advantage. However, NOVA’s Financial Literacy Program provides a plethora of educational resources for students to increase their awareness of personal financial management. With affordable tuition goals for students beginning a postsecondary education or returning to college mid-career, NOVA offers innovative methods to assist students in achieving financial freedom.
Through the College’s Financial Aid Office, NOVA’s Financial Literacy Program contains five main components, a student success skills course, a financial literacy blog, CashCourse coursework modules, workshops and free financial coaching services. Approximately 14,000 NOVA students have taken advantage of the College’s financial literacy resources. The program’s goal is to educate and motivate everyone in the NOVA community to make prudent financial decisions that contribute to their financial well-being and overall success.
Financial literacy is part of the required NOVA curriculum for all first-time students (ages 17-24). Students must take Student Development (SDV), a one-credit required course, within their first 15-credits. Instructors typically spend one to two hours covering the required financial literacy learning objectives such as credit, saving and budgeting. Since 2012, all SDV instructors who teach the course online or in a hybrid format use EverFi’s web-based product Transit – Financial Wellness, an interactive module that covers key concepts on personal finance and financial aid management. In 2016-17, a total of 8,234 students participated in the Transit Financial Wellness program through their SDV courses.
“It is important for students to understand the value of money management. Without it, they are at risk of not making wise financial choices,” said NOVA Director of Financial Aid Joan Zanders. “Studies on financial literacy provide strong evidence that students who participate in a financial literacy course in college are 10 percent more likely to feel prepared about managing money. This helps to improve retention and graduation rates, which places NOVA alumni in a better financial situation.”
As part of the program’s CashCourse modules, a total of 436 financial literacy interactive courses were completed by students through Inceptia’s Financial Avenue, an online financial education program. Throughout the 2016-17 academic year, forty $100 grants that can be used toward educational costs at NOVA, were awarded to randomly-selected students who successfully completed the course. In addition to offering classroom applications, NOVA’s Financial Literacy Program hosted nine money management and paying for college workshops at each campus during the fall 2017/spring 2017 semesters and 20 free tax preparation workshops in spring 2017.
“We also have financial coaches who work with students to create a personalized financial action plan,” said Zanders. “Coaching sessions take into account a student’s values, behaviors and goals. Students are definitely taking advantage of the services we offer, including NOVA’s default prevention initiatives. Our financial literacy blog has been viewed over 2,400 times and we will be offering new free workshops for students throughout the fall semester.”
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Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through NOVA Online. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.