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OSU Saves gives Gee, students chance to get finances in order

With Ohio State’s President E. Gordon Gee announcing that tuition is likely to rise, many OSU students will soon face even tougher financial decisions.

But there is some help available, at least in managing money during an increasingly expensive college experience. The Project on Student Debt, a non-profit independent research and policy organization, said college seniors who graduated in 2009 had an average of $24,000 in student loan debt.

OSU Saves, a local version of the nationwide campaign America Saves, is designed to assist students with paying off debt, building an emergency fund and saving for anything from an education to retirement. OSU Saves will offer several events around campus to promote the campaign this week.

“Students will gain valuable information about saving and spending wisely at no cost to them,” said Kathryn Trombitas, assistant director of the Student Wellness Center and a financial wellness specialist.

At OSU Saves, students will be able to fill out savings goal pledges, which will be given to the campaign. And with permission of the student who fills one out, representatives will provide savings tips at the event and through e-mail after the event, Trombitas said.

Even Gee has agreed to fill out his own saving goal pledge at 4 p.m. Thursday at the Credit Union of Ohio. Gee will also be there to encourage other students to fill out pledges, Trombitas said.

“I believe in the educational power of OSU Saves, an innovative awareness campaign that asks students and the university community to acknowledge the importance of saving money, then provides tips for accomplishing that goal,” Gee said in an e-mail to The Lantern earlier this month. “I know that for students, in particular, the college years are financially stressful. OSU Saves can help steer our students in the right direction.”

Organizations such as the OSU Student Wellness Center, the OSU Student Consolidated Service Center, the Credit Union of Ohio, America Saves and Columbus Saves will also be involved with helping to plan and run the campaign, Trombitas said.

Student group Scarlet and Gray Financial will also offer free, confidential financial assistance to students at the event.

“It’s never been easy for me saving money in college,” said Austin Goldfine, a second-year in history. “I definitely feel as though something like (OSU Saves) could help (students) save money, but it’s also about students actually wanting to accept responsibility for saving money.”

All the events for OSU Saves can be found on its Facebook page.

Similar versions of the campaign are being launched at 35 other universities, including Virginia Tech, Florida State, University of Hawaii and University of Illinois.

Nationally it’s estimated that 233,554 savings pledges have been filled out as of Feb. 22, according to America Saves.

“This campaign is not just about putting money into a savings account, rather, it is about changing a culture of spending to one that focuses more on frugality and spending wisely,” Trombitas said.


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