Elevating College Students’ Money Knowledge

February 10, 2015

Tatiana Andrade has always had a passion for all things financial.

“My parents weren’t the best at managing money,” says Tatiana. “It was frustrating. I remember when I was in the tenth grade, my older sister and her husband met with a financial planner to get a grip on their finances. I thought it was the neatest job and ever since then I’ve dreamed of being a financial advisor to families.”

Tatiana’s getting a head start on her ambitions as a SALT peer ambassador at Stonehill College. The SALT Ambassador Program leverages the power of peer-to-peer interaction by empowering student leaders on a campus to promote ASA’s financial education program, SALT, and financial literacy to their fellow students. SALT ambassadors increase awareness of SALT by hanging posters and flyers around campus and integrating the program into existing campus events, and they raise their peers’ financial acumen through presentations on student loans, budgeting and repayment options.

“I’ve seen a lot of wake-up calls and ‘aha’ moments during my presentations,” says Tatiana, who is now entering her second year as an ambassador. “Getting students in the door can be a challenge, but once they’re in, they’re interested and engaged.”

Tatiana uses many different strategies to entice classmates to her presentations and keep their attention, including a “Jeopardy”-style presentation, games, prizes and food.

“I also stress my own experience managing my finances,” she explains. “I find the students can relate more to you as a presenter when you show them you’re going through the same things they are.”

Though she started her ambassador role as just a freshman, Tatiana has presented to Stonehill classes from freshmen to seniors and she partners with offices across campus to spread the SALT word. “I’ve worked with the Health and Wellness department and Career Services, and this year I’ll be working with Stonehill’s communications staff a lot more to use social media and create a SALT resource page on Stonehill’s website.”

Tatiana will also soon kick off SALT one-on-one peer sessions. “Stonehill Financial Aid is converting one of their offices into the official “SALT room,” so I can hold office hours and provide more in-depth, training on how to use the SALT website (www.saltmoney.org)

Tatiana says the SALT ambassador program has been invaluable in helping her develop leadership and public speaking skills, as well as sharpened her own money management ways so she can practice what she preaches. “I’m paying the interest on my student loans while I’m in school so I won’t owe as much at graduation,” she says.

Being a SALT ambassador gives students like Tatiana a chance to not only pay it forward to younger students, but also pay it backwards as well. “Now I help my parents budget,”,” she says proudly. “They’re starting to see that I know what I’m talking about.”