Student Involvement and Leadership at East Carolina University has created a Financial Wellness Hub for students in an effort to increase their financial literacy and help prepare them for success in their professional life.
Director of the Financial Wellness Hub Rachel Anthony said the hub will serve as a place for students to increase their financial knowledge and voice their financial concerns. The hub will offer resources to students such as one-on-one appointments for financial coaching, programs related to various financial topics and exterior resources to help answer financial questions.
The Financial Wellness Hub, which is located in the Main Campus Student Center (MCSC), room 136, is available via appointment both virtual and in-person, according to Anthony. She said the hub’s website can be used to schedule appointments and provide information about the services offered.
“I’m really hoping to get to a place where the hub is really very much ingrained in the culture of ECU,” Anthony said.
The Financial Wellness Hub hopes to incorporate peer-to-peer services where students can connect with others who may have similar goals, according to Anthony. She said she hopes the services offered at the hub will encourage students to come with their questions and feel confident in their future financial success.
Anthony said the hub will cover financial topics such as student loan payments, financial aid and budgets. She said the purpose of the hub is to improve student’s knowledge on their finances.
The long-term goal of the hub is to create partnerships with other university departments to help communicate the resources offered through the hub, according to Anthony. She said those partnerships can help both the hub and other university departments assist students efficiently.
“I definitely think as the hub kind of establishes itself you will see a lot of that introduction to the hub happening, in the beginning of the year making sure students know it’s a resource,” Anthony said.
Business Officer for the MCSC and Health Science Campus Student Center Dean Smith said both himself and Anthony have a passion for the subject of finances, as he worked in banking up until his employment at ECU. He said his position in banking showed him many individuals, like current ECU students, were not financially literate.
Smith said the Financial Wellness Hub is a place for students who may need to be pointed in the right direction for financial questions as they can provide resources to help assist and direct them to outside sources. He said the hub is familiar with outlets on campus such as the Office of Financial Aid, a place where students can bring financial questions.
One of the challenges of university life is how students can feel lost when they’re faced with a question or they need assistance, according to Smith. He said the hub will provide guidance from a financial perspective to help get students connected to the knowledge they need.
“It’s a little bit nebulous intentionally because we want to be the place you go when you have a financial question and then we can help you from there,” Smith said.
Money involves emotions such as fear, anxiety and anger, which can have negative impacts on your life, according to Smith. He said the Financial Wellness Hub hopes to improve a student’s relationship with money and help them feel more confident in financial decisions.
Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Virginia Hardy said she believes the Financial Wellness Hub will help students understand the complexity of their finances so they can then utilize the resources given to them to enhance their financial future. She said financial literacy can help students make informed career choices and prepare for large financial decisions.
Hardy said she believes the convenience of technology through online banking has hindered students' understanding of how to keep up with their finances. She said students must understand their actions in college will impact the future of their financial wealth and there are ways to be proactive to prevent future burdens.
“I think this office and the programming will help students understand that money just doesn’t pop out of the ATM, there’s a way they put that money in and utilize it so that it lasts longer and it works better for you,” Hardy said.
A goal for the Financial Wellness Hub is to bring in financial professionals from banks to help collaborate on programs for students to benefit from their knowledge, according to Hardy. She said her hope is that once the hub grows and students begin to utilize the resources it will become larger and have a vast reach on campus.
Hardy said the Wells Fargo bank helped sponsor the creation of the Financial Wellness Hub and she hopes they will participate in events in the future. She said she looks forward to the addition of peer financial advisors as a resource for students.
The Financial Wellness Hub will serve as a confidential space for students to talk about their finances, according to Hardy. She said university administration was aware of the amount of debt and loans students encounter and that there needed to be a place for them to understand how to manage these financial hurdles.
“With this effort of we need to do it (the Financial Wellness Hub), it was something (the addition of the hub) that was a gap in our programming and our co-curricular programming and so we thought we need to do this to help our students prepare for their future today,” Hardy said.