Financial literacy is the level of understanding an individual has for different financial topics, including but not limited to, investment vehicles, retirement accounts, saving, budgeting, credit and taxes, and the use of such knowledge to change one’s financial behavior to create a more positive financial position for the future. Past research has shown that college students consistently have low levels of financial literacy. They also lack knowledgeable influences on their financial education. Because many college students will soon enter the workforce after graduation and will be responsible for managing their own salary, retirement accounts and investment options, they can be considered the ideal recipients of financial education. After demonstrating the apparent need, I explore the current situation regarding college students and financial literacy through a survey. Focus will be given to college students’ attitudes towards their finances, their financial behavior, financial influences and their preparedness for future financial situations. Through the development of three financial scores, demographic factors were tested to determine if they had a significant impact on college students’ financial scores. It was found that gender had a specific impact on college students’ financial attitude score. Specifically, males had a higher score, indicating a greater interest in their personal financial knowledge. Students who had previously taken an “Introduction to Financial Management” or “Personal Financial Management” course had significantly higher financial attitude, behavior and financial future scores. This study creates the potential for a collegiate level curriculum that could have a meaningful impact on college students, as it would be a relevant education experience that would cover topics students directly expressed an interested in learning about.
Recommended CitationQuirk, Kerry, "Financial Literacy and College Students: An Exploration of College Students’ Attitudes, Behaviors, Influences and Preparedness for Financial Decisions After Graduation" (2015). Honors Projects in Finance. Paper 31.