Financial capability was declared a ‘critical 21st-century skill’ by the World Economic Forum in their New Vision for Education report. It’s a valuable lifelong skill in itself, but one that is key in alleviating university students’ stress and anxiety about money. Student debt, accumulating overdrafts, loans and credit cards can make the challenge of studying into a financially stressful one. One of the three factors cited for the rise in student mental health conditions over the past decade is “the rising costs associated with higher education”, according to a 2016 report by the University of York.
Financial and mental strains lead some students to discontinue their studies after the first year. With 6% of young first degree entrants, 105,000 students nationally, failing to advance to second year (HESA, 2016). Our recent white paper, produced in collaboration with 13 UK universities also shows that students are at risk of dropouts, as 38% claimed to have considered withdrawing from their studies due to financial stress.
Educational establishments now recognise that financial skills are a vital attribute of future success. Today’s progressive institutions equip students with more than just education; they offer services that enhance students’ life skills and lay foundations fit for our complex and fast moving world. But how can universities include personal finance education in this equation?
The answer lies in shifting the awareness of individuals early on and in a compelling way. By empowering students to take control of their finances they can be encouraged to make fundamental changes as their university lives progress. Modern universities understand this, but can often only offer limited pre-emptive activities, such as workshops, that often have low attendances. This is where Blackbullion comes in. Blackbullion can fill the financial knowledge gap with a proactive, user-centric platform before students get into debt. In fact, 60% of students felt more in control of their finances, and 65% are more likely to budget each month, after completing Blackbullion’s online learning.
To find out how Blackbullion can drive student success at your university, visit www.blackbullion.com.
Developing a financial capability scheme at the University of Hertfordshire
– Reduce hardship fund applications
– Educate students about better spending habits
– Reduce pressure on overstretched staff
The student support team at the University of Hertfordshire was looking to amplify the impact of the hardship fund support available to students. Additionally, they wanted to integrate financial education across the entire institution. The team was also looking to reinforce a university-wide goal of ensuring students were better educated about spending habits and prepared to thrive in the real world.
Blackbullion was used to amplify the student support team’s efforts to proactively reach out to a wider segment of students, in line with their philosophy of empowerment and personal responsibility. It was integrated across student support operations to assist students in accessing financial education at every point of their student lifecycle.
Blackbullion has become a central part of Open Days, budgeting workshops, and the hardship fund disbursement process, among other initiatives. Through this comprehensive approach the University has seen a decline in the number of students applying for hardship funds and experienced a positive impact from the increased level of financial education amongst the wider student population.