Graduate School Awarded Grant to Create Student Financial Literacy Program


Kathleen Wallace, Ohio State: (614) 247-7300 /
Julia Kent, CGS: (202) 223-3791 /
John McCool, TIAA-CREF: (888) 200-4062 /


The Ohio State University Receives Grant to
Create Student Financial Education Program

In face of national student debt crisis, Ohio State will prepare
students to successfully manage finances, educational costs


Columbus, Ohio – The Ohio State University today announced it has been awarded a grant from the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) to develop a financial education program for graduate and undergraduate students. The grant was awarded as part of the groundbreaking CGS best practice program, Enhancing Student Financial Education, co-sponsored by TIAA-CREF, a leading financial services provider. The program comes at a time when public funding for higher education has declined, and the costs associated with higher education continue to rise.


Ohio State will work in collaboration with CGS and TIAA-CREF to design a program that prepares students to play an active role in managing their personal finances and making informed decisions about saving, spending and borrowing.  It will expand the financial coaching and planning resources currently available through its Scarlet and Gray program and broaden it to include graduate students. The program will support Ohio State’s mission to serve its students and the State of Ohio and to be a role model for other institutions that share its concerns and goals.


The Ohio State program is tailored to a student’s financial needs and to his/her financial risk behavior and will include a full continuum of online and in-person offerings, including eLearning modules, webinars, small group workshops, and individual on-on-one coaching.


The selection of awardees was made through a competitive proposal process involving an independent selection committee of experts in higher education reforms and financial education.


“I’m delighted with the award and how it recognizes the creative program we’re putting in place at Ohio State,” said Patrick S. Osmer, vice provost for graduate studies and dean of the Graduate School. “One of the most important projects in higher education today is to give students and their families the tools and information they need to assess the financial realities of undergraduate and graduate degrees. We are doing just that with our partners in Student Life and its financial wellness team.”


“I expect Ohio State will be a leader in developing the information students need and in making sure that they tap into that information at the appropriate milestones—when selecting a program and university, figuring out how to fund going to college or graduate school, how to manage debt, and how to make a transition into employment.”


“Graduate student financial literacy,” said Joshua Coy, president of Ohio State’s Council of Graduate Students, “is an often overlooked piece of graduate student wellness. This grant has the potential to help students access the information they need to make informed decisions about their finances at every step of their graduate degree process – all the way to graduation and employment.”


CGS President Debra W. Stewart lauded the winning proposal, noting that the project addresses an area of leading concern for graduate deans, according to an annual survey of CGS members. “In collaboration with 14 other awardees and 19 affiliate partners, Ohio State is stepping up to help students prepare for the financial challenges of college life and beyond,” Stewart said. “Money management skills are no longer optional. They’re essential for academic success as students work more, borrow more, and balance more family obligations with their studies.”


“By working together, universities and the private sector are uniquely well-positioned to provide students with the tools and resources they need to effectively manage their financial futures,” said Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of TIAA-CREF. “Working with CGS, we are proud to partner with Ohio State to help put students on a path toward fiscal responsibility and financial well-being.”


By surveying and measuring the effectiveness of each grantee’s programming, the project will enable CGS to develop best practices for improving financial education among college students. These findings will be made widely available to the higher education community through interactive tools and resources over the next two years.  


“The Student Wellness Center, in the Office of Student Life, recognizes the substantial impact that financial literacy and wellness has on student success both in the classroom and throughout life,” said Student Life Financial Wellness Coordinator Bryan Ashton. “This partnership will allow Ohio State to further our commitment and national leadership in the field of student financial education. We are excited to enhance our current financial education efforts for graduate students and better prepare our undergraduate population for advanced academic pursuits.”


Proposal evaluation took into consideration the innovations each university will develop to engage and address the needs of different groups of students and considered factors such as degree level, field of study, chosen career path and student demographics. A project’s potential to successfully engage students was also key. Institutions that submitted proposals were asked to provide detailed plans for using online tools, social media, digital solutions and face-to-face interaction to foster student participation.


Data collection for the project will begin October 2013 with a baseline survey of student financial knowledge, attitudes and behaviors. A control group of students will be surveyed to measure the effectiveness of interventions, and a post-program survey will examine the progress made by students who participated in the project curriculum and outreach. A survey of financial standing will gather information about household income, savings and borrowing to study how these factors influence students’ financial skills. 


More information about the project is available at Enhancing Student Financial Education.


Kathleen Wallace, Ohio State: (614) 247-7300 /

Julia Kent, CGS: (202) 223-3791 /

John McCool, TIAA-CREF: (888) 200-4062 /


About CGS

The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) is an organization of over 500 institutions of higher education in the United States and Canada engaged in graduate education, research, and the preparation of candidates for advanced degrees. Among U.S. institutions, CGS members award 92% of the doctoral degrees and 81% of the master’s degrees.* The organization’s mission is to improve and advance graduate education, which it accomplishes through advocacy in the federal policy arena, research, and the development and dissemination of best practices.

* Based on data from the 2011 CGS/GRE Survey of Graduate Enrollment and Degrees



TIAA-CREF ( is a national financial services organization with $520 billion in assets under management (as of 3/31/13) and is the leading provider of retirement services in the academic, research, medical and cultural fields.


Need help?

Contact staff members in the Graduate School using the staff directory, or call (614) 292-6031.

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