By: Solomon Nkhalamba and Catherine Darragh, Contributors

Students know that they must invest time to succeed academically, but there is less understanding about financial preparedness. As a college student engulfed in school work and many other demands that come with this amazing period of life, it is tempting not to think about financial management. As the saying goes, “Failure to plan is planning to fail.” Inability to practice good financial behaviors at an early stage is a catalyst to getting into financial misery later in life. According to Inceptia, financial stress among college students is prevalent and highly correlated with low academic performance.

To promote financial literacy among students, the University of Southern Maine (USM) Financial Services Office is developing a Financial Literacy program that students are encouraged to utilize. This program provides students with access to a variety of Financial Literacy resources, one of which is $ALT. Any USM student can sign up for $ALT for free, with membership being active beyond graduation. On the $ALT website, students have access to helpful financial tips on personal finance management, student loans, budgeting calculators and many other tools.

In addition to $ALT, USM collaborates with other community financial institutions running financial literacy initiatives, one of which is University Credit Union (UCU). We are pleased to announce that UCU has developed “Budgeting by the Slice” monthly events featuring financial literacy presentations while munching on pizza. “Budgeting by the Slice” events take place at the end of each month and will be hosted in the Fall and Spring semesters on the Portland and Gorham campuses. For a full schedule of events, check out the UCU website ( The next “Budgeting by the Slice” event is October 24, 2017, from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM on the Portland and Gorham campuses; at the Woodbury amphitheater in Portland and the Brooks Student Center in Gorham.  

This month is particularly crucial to students because scholarship deadlines are coming up on November 1, 2017. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is also available online now, and students are encouged to file as soon as possible. The sooner you submit your FAFSA, the greater your opportunity for a robust financial aid package and the sooner you will be notified. Keep up to date on upcoming deadlines and sign up for $ALT on the financial services website (


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