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Texas Colleges Start Educating Students on Debt

(Monica Rhor, Houston Chronicle)
Mercadi Crawford, the first in her family to graduate from high school and the first to go to college, admits she knew little about the intricacies of financial aid when she enrolled at Texas Southern University.

But Crawford, who was raised in a single-parent household, knew that getting to graduation day would require loans. She could have been on the road to emerging from school saddled with debt. Instead, Crawford got some lessons in financial literacy from TSU’s financial aid department and kept her student loans down to a little more than $10,000.

“I had to learn that you have to give that money back,” said Crawford, now 24 and pursuing a master’s in public administration at TSU. “A lot of students take out more than they have to or need to. It’s not free money.”

TSU is among a growing number of colleges and universities offering financial literacy courses. At the University of Texas-Austin, the non-credit course topics in “Bevonomics” include “Budgeting and Building Credit as a College Student” and “Managing Your Student Loan.” At Rice University, the online “CashCourse” offers lessons titled “Budgeting and Financial Planning” and “Repaying Student Loans.”

The courses, increasingly included in freshman orientation, are part of the schools’ response to the ballooning student debt crisis. Other schools, such as TSU and the University of Houston, are hiring default prevention coordinators, tasked with getting delinquent graduates up to speed on payments.
(Read the full story at the Houston Chronicle)

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