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RIT prof spreads message on credit card literacy

Robert Manning, RIT professor and special assistant to the provost, has designed a financial literacy program to teach first-year college students the ins and outs of credit card debt.

Robert Manning

“This program will also make RIT graduates more competitive in the job market as employers are increasingly scrutinizing credit scores along with grade point averages,” says Manning. “The U.S. has the highest level of student indebtedness in history and the worst job market in a decade,” Manning says. “More and more students nationally are dropping out of college for non-academic reasons. Educating students about consumer debt is no longer a luxury.”

Manning’s financial literacy program will equip first-year students with skills to make financially prudent decisions and minimize their personal debts. RIT’s First Year Enrichment course during the winter quarter incorporates two sections of Manning’s program into its existing curriculum.

In partnership with RIT, Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., also launched a version of Manning’s program designed for its predominantly African-American student body.

Manning’s approach to financial education begins by introducing students to the positive and negative power of credit cards. Students take a cultural and financial literacy quiz followed by a discussion of the consequences of unrestrained credit card use including its future impact on jobs, renting apartments, personal relationships, depression and anxiety.

“With a record 1.5 million personal bankruptcies in 2002 and rising tuition costs, students need to understand the power credit cards hold – both the positive and negative impacts – because it can have such a dramatic impact on their personal and professional futures,” Manning says.