What is financial literacy?

Financial literacy is defined as:


  1. The ability to read, analyze, manage and communicate about the personal financial conditions affecting material well being.

  2.  The term is used to describe financial education programs on college campuses and within high schools. The objective of financial literacy programs is to help students better manage their finances, budget effectively, and borrow wisely.


Smart financial management includes a few basic good habits. If you are a student, you may already have a checking account, a credit card, or maybe even a car loan. When heading off to college, you may also need to borrow student loans to help finance your education. But have you determined your financial goals and established good financial habits? Here are a few tips to get you started.


Steps you can take now to get on the right financial path


  • Take charge of your spending. Establish a budget; set limits and prioritize; determine the difference between needs and wants; speak with a professional, nonprofit credit counselor if needed.

  • Start saving. The earlier you save, the more you'll have.

  • Understand the costs of credit. Compare at least three offers before you choose a credit card; look for low interest rates and no annual fees; always pay more than the minimum payment.

  • Understand how credit use affects your future. Know the difference between good and bad debt; check your credit report annually.

  • Protect your credit and your financial future. Beware of identity theft; review statements and notify creditors immediately of errors; know what’s in your wallet/purse.


Planning for Financial Success


Minimize your student loan debt by following these Top 10 ways to graduate debt free.


  1. Complete the FAFSA annually.

  2. Qualify for federal grants.

  3. Research state scholarship and grant programs.

  4. Apply for institutional scholarships.

  5. Explore private scholarships.

  6. Inquire about work programs available on your campus.

  7. Set up a payment plan for your tuition.

  8. Secure summer employment.

  9. Invest in MOST, Missouri’s 529 college savings plan.

  10. Live like a student now, so you don’t have to later.


Financial Literacy Resources


DESE’s Personal Finance Career Education

Financial Literacy Month

Journey to College Videos


MDHE’s Financial Literacy Publications