Montana State University

Free financial counseling and information available to Montana students

September 1, 2004


Finances can be a balancing act. MSU photo by Carol Flaherty   High-Res Available

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On average, students double their credit card debt and triple the number of credit cards in their wallets between arriving as freshman and graduating, according to the Student Advocates for Financial Education office at Montana State University-Bozeman.

Students arrive at universities with few or no financial skills but with a new check book, credit card and perhaps one or more loans, says Britta Hubbard, an associate with an outreach project of the Family Economics and Financial Planning office at MSU-Bozeman.

Hubbard says SAFE offers free, financial educational resources and confidential financial counseling to MSU-Bozeman and Billings and University of Montana-Missoula students who may be struggling with financial pressures.

"Students sometimes make financial decisions without fully understanding how the financial system works or how debt can burden them when they graduate," she adds.

Since 2001, SAFE has been providing students with information to help create spending plans, manage debt, understand credit cards and student loans and financially prepare for graduation. These services are provided free of charge with one-on-one confidential financial counseling sessions (on-line, over phone, and face-to-face), on-line and in-office resources, and group presentations, Hubbard says.

The financial counseling is provided by SAFE staff and consumer science interns, providing them with experience that helps them later in their professional careers.

SAFE is funded by a grant from the Student Assistance Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to helping students finance their higher education. For more information, contact SAFE at (406) 994-7223 or safe@montana.edu.

Britta Hubbard (406) 994-7222 or brittahubbard@montana.edu