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Bill Proposed to Require College Students to Pass Financial Literacy Class Before Graduation

DES MOINES, Iowa – A bill under review in the Iowa House of Representatives would require all college undergraduate students to take a financial literacy course before graduating.

SF 2361 passed in the Iowa Senate March 7th.

The idea of the course is to help a student understand average salary in jobs and average debt upon graduate.

Communication Coordinator for Iowa College Aid Elizabeth Keest Sedrel said the organization is not taking a side on the bill, but said there are many ways students can save money when attending college.

“First tip we offer is don’t immediately take out the full amount of loan you qualify for. Look at that more as a credit limit. That’s the number you want to stay under, and you really want to stay as far under it as you can. When it is time to pay off your loan anything you can do to pay it off a little bit faster is going to save you money, because the longer you pay off the loan the more interest it accrues,” Keest Sedrel said.

Students can also save money by living at home and earning college credit while still in high school.

Keest Sedrel said the average debt students accumulate by graduation in Iowa is around $30,000, while the national average is around $37,000.

“People are worried about student debt. We hear every day about how student debt is increasing and how it is making it tough for young people to get a start in life. What we tell people is student loans are just like anything else you borrow for the rest of your life. You have to be smart about it,” Keest Sedrel said.

If passed, the bill will go into effect for students who will graduate on or after July 1, 2019.