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Kent State Ashtabula Gets Grant to Promote Financial Literacy Among Students

Posted Feb. 10, 2014
enter photo description
Kent State University at Ashtabula has been awarded a
grant by the National Endowment for Financial Education®
to promote financial literacy awareness among its students.

Kent State University at Ashtabula has been awarded a $500 grant from the National Endowment for Financial Education® (NEFE) to promote the awareness of financial literacy among its students. The NEFE awarded the grant to Kent State Ashtabula as a way to provide incentives for students to participate in activities that highlight their financial wellbeing through the use of CashCourse.

“The CashCourse project is part of a larger campus mission of approaching student success from a holistic standpoint,” says Danielle Weiser-Cline, special assistant with Kent State Ashtabula’s Office of Academic Services.

Weiser-Cline collaborated with Amy Thomas, library director at Kent State Ashtabula, to create a website using LibGuides, a content management system used by thousands of libraries worldwide to share information on any topic, course or subject. Although the CashCourse LibGuide can be used by anyone that visits the site, it was originally built for students that are taking First-Year Experience (FYE) classes, students that have been placed on academic probation or semester warning. The content of the site focuses on four areas students struggle with: understanding student loans and financial aid, budgeting, buying technology and finding healthy and affordable food. The CashCourse LibGuide contains CashCourse resources, assignments that may be used by any instructor or administrator at the campus, and other helpful websites that pertain to the topic being addressed.

The Kent State Ashtabula CashCourse LibGuide is being used as part of the online Probation Programming and Semester Warning programs, which were designed by Weiser-Cline to not only include the typical study strategies and time management techniques, but also cover issues such as maintaining a home, finding appropriate child care and improving financial literacy.

“The Office of Academic Services, located in the library, offers one-on-one academic success coaching to students, with emphasis placed on balancing school and life; teaching students to use sound time management and study techniques, urging them to set realistic expectations for housework and family life and connecting them to community resources that can help them in times of need,” Weiser-Cline says.

To enhance students’ connections to campus resources, all academic advisors on the Ashtabula Campus teach Destination Kent State (DKS), First-Year Experience to their assigned advisees, allowing them to be better attuned to student struggles and positioning them to be a student’s first point of contact for any problems, including serving as triage for students who are having financial aid issues.

“The inclusion of the CashCourse LibGuide in the First-Year Experience curriculum makes it even easier for our advisors to connect students to the financial literacy resources they need to make the best possible financial decisions during their academic career and beyond,” Weiser-Cline says. 

According to Stina Olafsdottir, manager at the Kent State Bursar’s Office, Kent State and the Kent State Alumni Association joined forces with the National Endowment for Financial Education in the spring of 2013 to provide students, faculty and staff access to free online resources to improve the financial wellbeing of students. 

“Student debt is at an all-time high, and Kent State Ashtabula is really raising students’ awareness on the issue by incorporating financial literacy topics into certain aspects of the curriculum,” Olafsdottir says. “Including financial literacy as part of its holistic approach to student success is exactly why NEFE offers university communities access to CashCourse and why Kent State joined forces with them. The Ashtabula Campus has raised the bar and is empowering students to take control of their financial well-being and make smarter choices.

“What the campus has created and is implementing is just fantastic,” Olafsdottir adds. “Danielle and Amanda Dolan, assistant director of enrollment management and student services, have been selected to present their online probation program at Region 5 National Academic Advising Association Conference in Madison, Wis., in March. The title of their presentation is ‘Extreme Makeover: Academic Edition: Using Online Resources to Support Academically At Risk Students.’” 

Olafsdottir says that faculty and staff have access to a variety of resources through CashCourse.

“CashCourse allows users to select and assign lessons directly to students, keep track of their progress and their scores,” she says. “One of the best features of the site is access to over a dozen different workshop kits. These workshop kits are prewritten and designed so that the user can provide students with an in-depth look at financial education topics and money management resources without having to build the content from scratch.”  

For more information or to access the resources offered by CashCourse, contact Olafsdottir at or 330-672-0880, or visit