Rochester Institute of Technology professor Robert Manning has written a book about the credit card industry and testified before Congress on the subject.
Now he has designed a financial literacy program that he hopes to introduce to colleges nationwide.
The course teaches first-year collegians the ins and outs of credit card debt. It is a noncredit requirement at RIT this semester and also will be offered at Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., where it has been designed for the school’s predominantly African-American student body.
“ With a record 1.5 million personal bankruptcies in 2002 and rising tuition costs, students need to understand the power credit cards hold — both the positive and negative impacts — because it can have such a dramatic impact on their personal and professional careers,’’ Manning said.
One example: A poor credit rating because of credit card abuse can dramatically boost insurance rates for the graduate.
The goal of the program “ is to learn how to use credit cards as a budget management tool rather than being enticed by the magic of plastic,’’ Manning said.
Students will take a cultural and financial literacy quiz, followed by a discussion of the consequences of unrestrained credit card use, including its future impact on jobs, renting apartments, personal relationships, depression and anxiety.
The students then will work on a personal budget, look at credit card reports and study the cost of compound interest on credit cards. Part of the program will include testimonials from peers interviewed on television news programs, including one student who declared bankruptcy before graduation.
This story ran on Democrat and Chronicle.com on 08/31/2003.