Santa Fe College’s month-old Financial Wellness Center still relatively unknown to students

Seven in ten college students feel stressed, according to a survey by the Ohio State University’s Office of Student Life.

The Financial Wellness Center is a partnership between Santa Fe College and VyStar Credit Union providing free financial advice and resources to all Santa Fe students from budgeting and saving to shopping and investing. The center opened over a month ago to students overwhelmed by the world of budgets, credit card debt, student loans, and financial planning.

The center is open on Mondays and Tuesdays from 8 a.m. to 10.30 a.m. It is open on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 1.30 p.m.

“We want to be available to students in a real-time scenario where they have someone they trust, who they can call for free and get advice and directions,” said Michael Rathjen, Vystar Vice President of School Programs.

In addition to providing financial advice, Vystar has also pledged to donate $ 20,000 a year to the Santa Fe College Foundation, which the college can use at its own discretion, Rathjen said.

He believes financial education is important for college students as many can be used by credit card companies.

“We would see that on our side, Vystar, students apply for their first loan and already have seven credit cards in their profile,” said Rathjen. “And then not even knowing they were signing credit card applications when they signed up for free t-shirts, free chick-fil-a-cookies.”

He also said that financial literacy has become a taboo subject, which can lead to even more mistakes in the future.

His best advice for students? Plan ahead.

“You can either take the time to prepare for your future, or you can take the time to recover from your past,” said Rathjen.

However, when asked about the Financial Wellness Center, many Santa Fe students had never heard of the resource.

Angelica Scalisi, a 22 year old SF nurse, wished Santa Fe had told her more about the service and made students aware that this resource was available for them.

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“Some people may not know that it is available,” she said. “I know the financial situation can be a little tricky at times, especially with COVID and people who are currently out of work or have lost their jobs, but I think it would be more beneficial if it were carried over.”

Jonathan Box was also unaware of the services. , The 18-year-old SF freshman in electrical engineering said he plans to use the center in the future.

Box believes it’s a great addition as some students are concerned about funding and often choose Santa Fe for its affordability. This service would help the same students who are underfunded, he said.

A financial aid representative in Santa Fe said none of their employees had heard of the financial wellness center.

Colin Benner, customer service coordinator for the Santa Fe Financial Aid Office, said the financial wellness center was only part of his plan for student financial education.

He also wants to work on more financial literacy coaching, a standardized canvas course, and financial wellness presentations.

“From this perspective, we at the Financial Aid Office are very interested in ensuring that students have the skills to budget effectively, spend effectively, get the most out of their money and borrow as little as possible to finance their education,” said Benner.

He wants students to be interested in their personal finances now before they go into any more debt.

“You can now make mistakes that could affect your financial health in the long term. And although none of this is permanent, it can become even more difficult for students in the future, ”said Benner.

Maya Erwin contributed to this report.

Contact Eve Thompson at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @evealanaa.

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Eva Thompson

Eve Thompson is a third year journalist covering Santa Fe. In the past, Eve was a news assistant at the university. When she’s not making public record requests or staring at a blank Google Doc, Eve can be found on a boat, usually listening to music from the 70s.

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