Becoming financially $avvy

The end of September marks the start of the $avvy $eawolf $eries put on by Financial Literacy at UAA. The series consists of three workshops centered around budgeting, credit and loans, which aim to educate students on financial topics.

Starting with Stretching Your Dollar, followed by Credit… the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, and wrapping up with The Loan Zone, the hour-long workshops build off each other and are presented once a week for three weeks. The fourth week restarts with the first workshop. Each workshop in the series begins at the same time and in the same location as the one prior and are presented four times over the course of the semester.

Laura Zamborsky, financial literacy coordinator at UAA, created the workshops back in 2014. Over the years, she has worked to make them as accessible to students as possible. They are offered at a variety of times, on different days of the week and in multiple locations in order to accommodate for the busy lives of college students. Zamborsky encourages participants to try to not only attend one workshop, but to “complete the series” by attending all three.

“The worst thing that could happen is that you already know some of the information. Whether you know nothing or think you know everything about the topics, students usually leave with some new bits of information,” she said. “That’s why we do it; it opens up that thought process.”

Sonya Stein, director of UAA Financial Aid, oversees the $avvy $eawolf program and is a big advocate for the workshops. For her, they are an opportunity to pass down the knowledge she gained over the years to new students.

“Students in their final years always say ‘I wish I knew this information earlier,’ and I can’t help but think back to when I was in college,” Stein said. “I would’ve made a lot of financial decisions differently if I had known the things that I do now. I don’t want students to make the same mistakes I did or that I see other students making.”

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Joseph Hopkins, information adviser in admissions, helps to spread the word of the workshops to new students at the university. He hopes to give them any resources they need to make informed financial decisions throughout their college careers.

“The sessions assist from the admissions process to the diploma,” Hopkins said. “They all tie together and help students be fully aware of their benefits. Sometimes there [are] little details that can make all the difference.”

Along with gaining knowledge on practical topics, the $avvy $eawolf $eries offers many scholarship opportunities to participants. An administration scholarship is given to a number of students who attended one of the three workshops, and a completion administration scholarship offers a chance to win a larger amount of money to those who “completed the series.”

Emma Lawal, a sophomore at UAA, was one of last semester’s scholarship recipients, which assisted her in paying fees for both the summer and fall semesters of this school year.

“I got a lot out of the workshops… and I won the scholarship offer… which was beyond words a huge blessing,” Lawal said in an email. “Students should attend… because to be honest, we don’t completely know everything about loans, credit and saving.”

Stretching Your Dollar, the first workshop in the $avvy $eawolf $eries, begins on Sept. 27 from 1-2 p.m. in the Lyla Richards Conference Room, or Student Union room 103. The following week, Credit… the Good, the Bad and the Ugly will take place on Oct. 4 at the same time and location. The series will wrap up with The Loan Zone on Oct. 11.

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For more information on each workshop and a calendar of the events, visit the Financial Literacy page on the UAA website, or contact Laura Zamborsky at (907) 786-6149 or uaa.financial.literacy@alaska.edu.