Created in fall 2005, the University of North Texas (UNT) Student Money Management Center (the Center) addresses financial barriers to college entrance, persistence, and retention, in addition to cultural issues relating to debt and credit, to educate students regarding student loans and other personal debt. Latino students, and by extension their families, learn about the earning potential a college degree can provide, and address concerns about lost earnings due to foregoing employment for a postsecondary education.
The Center works closely with the university's TRIO programs, the Multicultural Scholastic Award Program, the Multicultural Center, and the Division of Equity and Diversity to ensure that the content of its workshops is both culturally relevant and sensitive to the university's Latino students. Part of the Center's mission is to educate both students and families of all ethnicities and backgrounds on the benefits of a college education and the importance of solid financial management skills to better the future of the next generation of Latino students. Because of the newness of the program, the Center does not have decades of longitudinal research findings to make reference to. It has, nevertheless, touched individual lives one student at a time. UNT prides itself on being repeatedly included in the nation's top 100 colleges for Hispanic students and was recently singled out in Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education as a "publisher's pick." UNT has also seen Hispanic/Latino enrollment increase by 360 percent from 1987 to 2007.
The Student Money Management Center was awarded a Star Award from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in 2007 in recognition of its work with the Closing the Gaps initiative in the state of Texas. The positive impact the Center provides to the university's Latino students can be summed up with two words: student success. Students who attend a workshop walk away with a greater knowledge of managing their personal finances and financial obligations with increased confidence, and greater insight into themselves and what they are capable of achieving as informed and responsible adults.
This program was recognized as an Honorable Mention for making innovative and/or significant improvement in increasing Latino student success.