Financial Aid and Financial Literacy for First-generation Students

Matt Newlin Ed.D., Higher Education & College Access / The Center / October 28, 2022

Resource Guide: Fin Aid/Literacy

In the United States, financial education is severely lacking which creates disparities in economic outcomes. According to the Council for Economic Education (2020), only 21 states require a personal finance course as a requirement for high school graduation, meaning only 17% of high school students are required to take such a course. The Study on Collegiate Financial Wellness (2020) found that compared with their continuing-generation peers, “first-generation students had significantly higher financial strain scores, but had significantly lower financial self-efficacy, financial optimism and financial knowledge scores” (p. 2). Additionally, research has shown parental behaviors strongly influence students’ money management habits (Cude, 2006), which can compound challenges faced by first-generation (FG) students − given the percentage that come from low-income families.