Author Topic: Mustachian Ideas for College Freshman Workshop Series  (Read 3029 times)

MillenialMustache

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Mustachian Ideas for College Freshman Workshop Series
« on: June 26, 2014, 06:28:42 AM »
I am a freshman advisor at a small, private STEM university. Our office wants to offer a general workshop series about life topics. We teach a success strategies class and they are required to go to three events, so there is somewhat mandatory participation (other events are sporting events, career services, etc). Some ideas we are bouncing around are how to change a flat tire, how to change your oil, how to cook cheaply and healthy with only a microwave (that is all they have in the dorm - any good ideas for recipes?) -- any other ideas? I don't want to dive into full-fledged Mustachianism, just give them a little taste on how they can be more self-reliant and save money.

Thanks so much!

DocCyane

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Re: Mustachian Ideas for College Freshman Workshop Series
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2014, 06:35:17 AM »
Since you're STEM, these kids won't freak out over simple math, so I'd recommend a "Cost of Debt" class - as in, how much it really costs to finance a car for 7 years, for example. But then again, they may rethink borrowing money to attend university. ;)

MillenialMustache

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Re: Mustachian Ideas for College Freshman Workshop Series
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2014, 06:41:12 AM »
Haha, I did think about that, but it is $15,000 or so in tuition a semester to attend this university, so that maybe wouldn't be a good idea. Although, not that many of our students take out loans.

AlanStache

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Re: Mustachian Ideas for College Freshman Workshop Series
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2014, 06:47:13 AM »
Since you're STEM, these kids won't freak out over simple math, so I'd recommend a "Cost of Debt" class - as in, how much it really costs to finance a car for 7 years, for example. But then again, they may rethink borrowing money to attend university. ;)

Exactly, a private university may not do well to teach incoming students about the full cost of debt.  That said I think showing them the numbers after 10 years of a frugal budget and an extravagant budget might sink in to many them. But also show how being frugal is not a life depriving experience.

Students are required to go to sporing events?  As a former engineering student wtf, how do they have time for that?

MillenialMustache

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Re: Mustachian Ideas for College Freshman Workshop Series
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2014, 06:57:23 AM »
They are required to go to three events on campus total in their first semester, in an effort to get them involved. It can also be a club meeting, our office has a pizza party that counts, etc. Sporting events are an easy one because there are a lot of them.

warfreak2

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Re: Mustachian Ideas for College Freshman Workshop Series
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2014, 07:08:47 AM »
Since you're STEM, these kids won't freak out over simple math, so I'd recommend a "Cost of Debt" class - as in, how much it really costs to finance a car for 7 years, for example. But then again, they may rethink borrowing money to attend university. ;)

Exactly, a private university may not do well to teach incoming students about the full cost of debt.
Sorry, they are paying you to educate them, but it's more profitable to selectively keep them ignorant about certain things, so that's what you should do? No. Not only is it unethical for an educator to profit by maintaining students' ignorance, but it's also bad for business - students won't pay to learn only that which benefits the corporate owners of the university.

Teach them about the true costs of borrowing, and while you're at it, teach them about the true value of their degree*. If your employer believes they education they offer is valuable, they shouldn't have a problem with it. Hopefully it is worth what they are paying; I really do doubt your employer's business model requires misleading the customers, but if they do have a problem with you teaching the truth, get yourself out of there, for your own sake as well as the students'.

*This value doesn't have to be purely financial, of course, and it's up to the students how much non-financial value the course has to them. That's another good point that is worth teaching - think about what other, non-financial benefits and costs are involved in a decision.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2014, 07:13:44 AM by warfreak2 »

Nancy

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Re: Mustachian Ideas for College Freshman Workshop Series
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2014, 07:13:28 AM »
You absolutely should give a lesson on budgeting/debt/investing. The Patagonia clothing company urges its customers to buy used/repair Patagonia clothing, and it still has buyers. Teach them about credit (how to check it for free, how to manage it, and how to lose it), managing a budget, and compounding interest. Talk about credit card debt and student loans (but only if you're prepared to be honest). If they learn it from your school, they may grow up and think, wow! my university actually taught me about this stuff, which has made my life so much easier. Perhaps, I'll give them a donation.

Personally, I think it's terrible that schools don't want to talk honestly to students about the debt they are taking on and the cost of their education. Let's not forget the purpose of a higher education institution: to teach the students, not to make money for itself.

blueflipflop

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Re: Mustachian Ideas for College Freshman Workshop Series
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2014, 08:23:08 AM »
I have been developing financial literacy programs for the past four years at a large public University.  I would echo what others have said about keeping them realistic about the debt but there are ways that you can do it that make it not seem scary or in all honesty boring. What we have found is a good primer on the difference in loan types, that they don't have take everything offered to them, how to continue to look for scholarships and grants while they are still in school. Many students just don't understand the basics of financial aid or how to remain eligible for it.


Other topics we have found that are beneficial are:
Cooking on a Budget or Going Gourmet on a Budget- we are going to tailor this workshops to mostly microwave cooking since most freshmen live on campus and don't have access to a full kitchen.  (I'd be happy to share a cookbook we are putting together for microwave meals/no cook)

A workshop called Deals for Steals- basically a run through of all the things to do in the local area that are cheap or free, we also highlight the resources that are free on campus that students pay for with their tuition and fees, movie rentals from the library, the recreation center, etc. We highly encourage them to take advantage of the things they are already paying for. 

In order to talk about debt but not make it boring we created a workshop called, "The Walking Debt." Any spin off pop culture that students are into with an activity will get them in the door. Maybe you could do something with Game of Thrones since that is pretty popular.


Budget Like a Billionaire has also been popular and successful. Good luck I know you are competing with lots of other "fun" activities, if you market it right you can get good attendance.

Cwadda

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Re: Mustachian Ideas for College Freshman Workshop Series
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2014, 08:58:55 AM »
You could have a whole topic just on credit cards.

MillenialMustache

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Re: Mustachian Ideas for College Freshman Workshop Series
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2014, 12:59:18 PM »
I would love to see the recipe book - that is exactly what I am looking for! Can you message it to me? Does messaging allow attachments?