What is Financial Literacy?
You may ask, what exactly is financial literacy? Well, it’s composed of a number of skills and competencies that allow individuals to make responsible financial decisions. Canada’s Task Force on Financial Literacy’s final report in 2011 defined financial literacy as “critical to the prosperity and financial well-being of Canadians” (Source: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada).
Why is York Celebrating Financial Literacy?
During November 2016, York University Libraries is aiming to help students improve their financial literacy and reduce some of the stress they feel about their finances by highlighting resources and tools that are useful for students. Financial Literacy Month is a national event that was started five years ago by The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada. A wide variety of businesses and not-for-profit organizations participate in this celebration of financial literacy that happens during the month of November.
Financial Literacy & York Students
In 2014, 500 York University students from the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies were surveyed for the National Student Financial Wellness Study (NSFWS). York was the only Canadian institution that participated in this survey, while the other 51 post-secondary institutions were located in the United States. From this small sample of York students, the study found that:
- 32% of York students don’t think they will be able to pay off their debt after they graduate.
- Almost 90% of York students have never attended any sort of personal finance class, either in high school or at a post-secondary institution.
- 80% of York students are stressed about their finances in general.
- 60% of York students worry about paying monthly expenses.
- Almost 50% of York students said the amount of money they owe has caused them to neglect their academic studies or caused them to reduce their course load.
- While 60% of York students said the amount of money they owe caused them to consider taking a break from their studies and 40% considered dropping out altogether. (Source: NSFWS – York University, August 2015)
While the above results are coming from a small survey sample, it indicates that finances are top of mind for many York students. York University Libraries hopes that the inaugural Financial Literacy Month events at York will help students strengthen their financial literacy skills and reduce some of the anxiety they feel about financial matters.