SFS to work more closely with students on financial plans


Santiago Covarrubias

Student Financial Services wants to create a friendlier approach to eliminate its “doctor’s office” feel, according to Christine Tvedt, manager of Outreach and Education at the Office of Student Financial Services.

By Campus Reporter

The Office of Student Financial Services will launch a series of programs later this year designed to promote financial literacy.

The office plans to launch a peer coaching program with the help of American Student Assistance’s SALT program, set to start in the Fall 2016 Semester, or as soon as  Summer 2016. Students may also be invited to create a vinyl mural for the entrance to the SFS Student Center for Manifest on May 13. SFS is also planning and  a  twice-yearly forum presented at the Student Government Association meetings, beginning  April 19. 

Pearl Natali, SFS director of outreach education and financial planning, said peer coaches will primarily publicize SFS’ financial literacy resources.

Natali said the peer coaches plan to reach out to other student leaders and attend campus events to encourage students to become financially literate.

“Having a student voice to support the efforts is something we are hoping [to] get from this,” Natali said.

Lorinda Diehl, a campus engagement and education consultant with ASA and the manager of the SALT ambassador program, which offers money management courses, said SALT sends an ambassador handbook to institutions’ financial offices to provide guidelines for peer coach involvement in campus activities that foster an understanding of finances. 

Diehl said students need to activate their SALT membership to be peer coaches. She also said  interested students need to complete the activities on the SALT website to better explain the program’s tools.

“We ask [the offices] to find students who are energetic, outgoing, and comfortable talking to peers and giving presentations,” Diehl said. “We want students who are excited about financial education.”

Christine Tvedt, manager of Outreach and Education at the Office of SFS, said the office wants the peer coaching program to be available by the Fall 2016 Semester as a Federal Work Study position.

Tvedt also said the high-resolution, digitally generated vinyl mural will allow students to become familiar with the Office of SFS and provide students with work to include in their portfolios. She said the mural proposals will be displayed by the first week of May, in time for Manifest.

According to Tvedt, members of the SFS office met with the Student Leadership Advisory Board during the Fall 2015 Semester to better understand the students’ views of SFS.

“From the beginning, it has been a good relationship,” Tvedt said. “They have given their honest opinions on anything, from the emails we send out to what our section in Oasis looks like. It has been invaluable.”

Tvedt said Amanda Hamrick, Student Government Association executive vice president and a junior interactive arts & media major, proposed the forum in Fall 2015 to make SFS more approachable for students.

“[We have] hopes that this would look like the Pizza with the President, with a more laid-back atmosphere, and would hopefully bring down more of the walls,” Tvedt said.

Luther Hughes, SGA president and a senior creative writing major, said he noticed and understood SFS’ efforts to create a better rapport with students because of the negative connotation some students may associate with SFS.

“Students see SFS as the face of all these bills,” Hughes said.

Hughes said the forum will help students better relate to SFS.