The University of Texas at
Arlington is pleased to announce the appointment of Shakeela J. Hunter, formerly
of The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as the University’s first
director of student financial literacy.
Hunter will help shape the University’s new Student Money Management Center, which is aimed at ensuring that students have the opportunity to learn how to manage budgets and debt, save, prevent identity theft and plan for retirement – all before they earn their college degree.
The initiative is part of UT Arlington’s ongoing efforts to ensure student success. It also follows a 2011 Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board rule directing general academic institutions to offer students training in personal financial literacy and provide students the knowledge and skills they need to make important financial decisions.
Concerns about college costs and student debt loads have increased in recent years. Nationally, the average college student graduates with about $25,000 in loan debt. The average debt load for UT Arlington students, however, is about $18,800. About two-thirds of UT Arlington students borrow money to pay for college.
The addition of a student financial literacy director is among the many initiatives the University has undertaken to help students afford their college education. UT Arlington has not increased tuition and fees or room and board for the 2012-2013 academic year. About two thirds of students receive some form of financial aid to help pay for college, and two-thirds hold at least one job while attending college.
Hunter helped launch UI’s University Student Money Management Center in the Student Financial Services office in 2010 to assist the university’s 70,000 students with their personal financial needs. She recalls how, as the national economy dipped into recession, students whose parents had lost jobs struggled to keep current on tuition payments.
“I’m passionate about students and helping them stay in school,” Hunter said. “My hope is that they will get a quality education and graduate with as little debt as possible. I want them to be educated about finances before they ever have to worry about their credit score.”
Hunter earned her undergraduate degree in finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.
Kelly Davis, UT Arlington’s Vice President for Business Affairs and Controller, said Hunter will be an excellent resource for students.
“We are fortunate to have Shakeela on our team, and we look forward to working with her to offer our students support in managing the costs of their college education.”
The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.