Financial Literacy Center set to grow as part of Penn State Undergraduate Ed

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.— As part of Penn State’s ongoing commitment to strengthen student financial literacy, The Center for Financial Literacy and Wellness has moved to a new home within Penn State Undergraduate Education, effective July 1.

Formerly the Penn State Financial Literacy Center under Outreach and Online Education, the change will extend the reach of the center to all Penn State students, establishing a centralized hub in Grange Building on the University Park campus.

Daad Rizk, director of the center since its founding in Outreach and Online Education in 2013, is excited for the expanded access and programming this change will bring. “With this move to Undergraduate Education, we will now be a full-fledged center with a larger team to promote financial literacy to students we haven’t yet reached. Our short-term goal is to hire additional financial literacy counselors and administrative support, as well as students to help promote our programs,” said Rizk.

One of the new financial literacy counselors will serve as a liaison to the Commonwealth Campuses, while another will specifically address student challenges related to access and affordability.

According to Rizk, current programming available to students, including graduate and Penn State World Campus students, will remain but steadily become “bigger and better.” Last year, the center made financial literacy presentations to approximately 60 first-year seminars, reaching these students early in their Penn State careers. In addition, the center is asked by student groups and clubs to present to their members, each session tailored to the specific interests of that audience. Sessions cover anything from budgeting fundamentals, debt management, student loans, credit cards and more.

Rizk and her staff also meet one-on-one with students, confidentially, to address their real world financial challenges and give them the tools needed to make positive changes.

All of these services, along with a robust set of self-paced, online study modules found at their website, financialliteracy.psu.edu, combine to create one of the strongest university financial literacy programs in the country, according to Rizk.

“We’re committed to providing students with the resources they need to make healthy financial decisions, with the aim of building financial security and freedom. Life is more costly without a financial literacy education, and it is our moral obligation to give this education to our students,” she said.

Yvonne Gaudelius, associate vice president and senior associate dean for Undergraduate Education, says it is important that Penn State maintain a leading role in providing student financial education​, and looks forward to all that Rizk and her team will be able to accomplish. “Daad Rizk and Brad Yeckley have done a wonderful job in laying the foundations for a financially literate student body at Penn State through their work at Outreach and Online Education and the many partnerships they have established. This move to Undergraduate Education and a central location on campus will help them reach more students with their knowledge and passion; more students will gain a respect for money management, acquire less debt for their education, and understand the loan repayment process,” said Gaudelius.  

Rizk has extensive higher education experience in financial aid, student accounts, and as a university bursar. She holds an MBA and doctorate of education from Georgia Southern University. In March 2017, she was named the Institute for Financial Literacy’s Educator of the Year, a prestigious national award. Rizk was also honored with a 2016 Hendrick Award for her service to Penn State adult learners. Beginning July 2017, she will serve as co-chair elect of the Penn State Commission for Women.

To learn more about Penn State’s Center for Financial Literacy and Wellness, visit financialliteracy.psu.edu.

Last Updated August 08, 2017