A sudden shift in priorities: Why financial literacy is crucial for students

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Janene Murphy

Financial Literacy students practice tying ties during their careers unit.

Muskan Basnet, Copy Editor

Summertime brings students a sense of relief as they finally have no school and can fully enjoy the warm weather. However, the summer after junior year marks the start of the journey to adulthood. 

With college application portals opening towards the end of summer, soon-to-be seniors are faced with a plethora of decisions to make. On top of the already stressful college application process, students have a new issue to worry about: finances. 

Many students have little to no financial literacy, creating problems for students taking the first step into the next chapter of their lives.

Often, students do not worry or think about big financial decisions throughout their high school careers. However, this causes students to lack the financial literacy skills they need as they make college decisions, as well as for the rest of their lives.

The importance of developing financial literacy skills is underplayed. Financial literacy teacher Janene Murphy believes that knowing how to handle money is a crucial skill for students. “Like any other habit, it’s easier to build a good habit than to break a bad habit. Building good money habits early can save a person a lot of grief later in life,” she said. 

“Also, knowledge is power. You know that feeling when you master those math problems or nail that science concept? Imagine that with money. Knowing how to handle your money is empowering. As for those that don’t? It’s a recipe for disaster. Students need to know about money and how it works to be successful adults,” Murphy continued.

Senior Joey Borbeck is currently taking PV’s financial literacy course, and he believes that it is crucial for students to get a head start on their financial aid decisions. “It is important to be smart with your money and know how to make smart financial decisions in college and after. These decisions can make or break your financial status when becoming an adult,” Borbeck explained. 

Understanding how to properly manage money at a young age can prepare students and set them up for success. Though students might not have the immediate need for financial literacy, taking advantage of courses, like the one offered at PV, can aid students in the long term. 

College is not cheap, and many families cannot afford to pay for tuition. It is crucial that students who want to go to college understand what financial aid options are available for them. Students can look into things like scholarships, federal aid and student loans to help them pay for college.

Murphy believes that financial literacy skills are especially important for students looking into college. “Did you know that an 18-year-old student can take out as much as $12,500 in federal student loans and a total of $57,500 over the course of their college career? All without a cosigner — meaning they are fully responsible for paying that money back. In addition, student loans follow you for the rest of your life. Even if you go into bankruptcy, you have to pay them off,” Murphy explained. 

Getting a head start on the scholarship process will ease up some of the stress that the money aspect of college brings forth. Additionally, students can have more time for the scholarship application process: writing essays, getting recommendations, etc. 

Financial literacy can aid students both short term and long term, setting them up for success in the future. While students focus on their core classes at school, it can be beneficial to look into the elective classes that are offered, such as the financial literacy course.