Fox School of Business could consider itself lucky to have professor and dean of undergraduate programs Debbie Campbell. Her go-getter attitude has earned her many awards throughout her 25 years of experience in higher education and extensive knowledge of strategic marketing – Philadelphia Business Journal’s prestigious 40 Under 40 award in 2004, Fox School’s Musser Award for Leadership in Administrative Services and Leadership in Teaching Innovation in 2010, to name a few.
April is National Financial Literacy Month and Campbell has been promoting financial literacy initiatives along with sustainability efforts across campus. In addition to being widely renowned as an administrator for her efforts in advising student-veterans at Temple, she also helped launch the Online Bachelor of Business Administration program to assist students in getting their degree in a way that’s more convenient for them.
The Temple News caught up with Campbell to find out why financial literacy is so important and what students can do to be better prepared to take on their financial debt.
The Temple News: Can you explain what your position here at Temple requires of you?
Debbie Campbell: Currently, I am the senior assistant dean for undergraduate programs. In my role at Fox, I do all the curriculum, the career and advising center on multiple campuses, honors program, student organizations, enrollment management, outreach to high schools and community colleges, and graduate career placement. For the university, I’m the faculty adviser for the Temple Veterans Student Association and also one of the co-chairs for the veteran task force on campus.
TTN: Why do you believe it’s necessary for students, especially college students, to learn about financial literacy?
DB: I think it’s important for students once they’re here because they don’t always understand the repercussions of the decisions they make in college. Taking four classes as opposed to five or even six when your tuition covers it means that you could be here longer. Dropping a class is going to extend your time here before graduation, and financial aid could run out depending on how many times a student drops classes. Some students graduate in four years, but a lot of them don’t.
I think a lot of students don’t understand the long-term implications of the money they borrow because they tend not to pay it back until after they’re out so they assume, rightly so, that they’re going to have a job and pay it back within the first six months of working.
Sometimes, students don’t realize that while they have access to the money, the long-term debt gets racked up really quickly.
The financial aid office and the Bursar’s Office have done a good job of building tools on their website so that a student could go on and say, “OK, I’m going to take out $10,000 next year because I want to live off-campus with my friends and financial aid will pay for it.” Being able to put that on a calculator before they put their deposit down and see that it’s going to take them 10 years to pay it off and interest rate for that money is going to pile up on top of what they already have and students don’t understand that.
TTN: When do you think it’s appropriate for students to learn about the undervalued issue of financial literacy?
DB: As young as you can possibly get them. I would say as soon as a child now because of computers and technology. Kids are savvier younger- third and fourth graders understand money. Especially if you give them a $50 bill and take them to a store and ask, “What do you want to buy?” and they actually have to choose. They start to understand what that money means.
Starting young is best. You have to make it not boring because it’s something that has to be seen over and over again because it’s retention. They might see it once when they’re in fifth grade and never see it again till they’re in high school. I think it’s important for parents and for any school- elementary school, middle school, or high school to be talking about those things because we want kids to go to college, but they have to be able to afford it and it’s kind of wrong to make people want something they can’t have.
If there are scholarships out there, you have to find them. They might be long and they might ruin your weekend, but if you take the time to do them you can find money out there.
TTN: What specific courses does Temple provide on financial literacy?
DB: Well, there’s a couple…There is a class called Inve$ting in Your Future. It fulfills the quantitative literacy general education course. It was originally put together 5 years ago by a finance faculty member, Dr. Jonathan Scott. The risk management department here has a class that’s required of all general business studies minors called Risk Management 2501. The university’s bursar and student financial office has developed a freshman seminar class which are theme-based. They cover all different types of topics. There’s a course being proposed that’s actually called Financial Literacy with the university general education faculty curriculum committee for review and approval. That would also cover the quantitative literacy GenEd. These are the existing courses.
TTN: How do you promote financial literacy initiatives at Temple?
DB: They’re relatively new. What the task force has been doing this month is sending emails to every associate and dean in every school and college about the events happening. There have been a couple articles written about the President’s initiatives. Within Fox, we have the Fox Den, which is a weekly newsletter that goes out every Monday morning to our students which mentions everything that’s happening for that week. Some of our faculty are promoting it by giving extra credit to students who attend certain events. I’m not exactly sure what every other college is doing, but that’s what our college and task force is doing to at least get it out to the mass population.
Diana David can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.