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Graduate Students Receptive to Financial Advice, Despite Debt Load: Study

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Despite feeling stressed about their debt load, graduate-school students are the most receptive to receiving advice about complex investing and retirement planning techniques, which could boost participation in university financial education programs, according to a recent study by the Council of Graduate Schools and TIAA.

According to TIAA and CGS research, “Financial Education: Developing High Impact Programs for Graduate and Undergraduate Students,” available at, 60% of master’s students and 55% of doctoral students report feeling stressed about their finances.

While most students were able to make ends meet, 38% of master’s students and 36% of doctoral students worry about meeting their monthly expenses, the majority of the students surveyed said they’ve had no exposure to financial education, and less than one-third are aware of any financial education programs available at their institution.

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Because they are eager to learn about more complex financial products, university financial education programs tailored to these types of students could fare well.

CGS and TIAA performed research over a three-year period with 30 universities, polling 13,000 graduate students.

Results of the research found that with “relatively modest investments, universities can leverage their expertise in teaching and training, tap into existing campus resources, and address their students’ unique needs and preferences for learning.”

Arkansas State University, for instance, has developed the Interactive Teaching and Technology Center (ITTC), a personalized National Endowment for Financial Education CashCourse website to distribute financial education materials. ASU’s personalized CashCourse website provides students with resources, videos, and tips on managing finances.

Cornell built upon its Graduate Students Mentoring Undergraduates partnership between the Graduate School and undergraduate Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives to develop a Peer Mentor program of graduate and advanced undergraduate students.

Cornell’s project boasts financial literacy materials and additional information were disseminated from multiple partners in Cornell’s project, including a new financial literacy website with links to news reports, blogs, tools, resources about financial management, as well as information about project-related programming and events.

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