UTA prepares students and community members to “Be Money Smart”

UTA Personal Financial Education Program and Partners teach UTA how to “Be Money Smart”

Friday, Apr 12, 2024 • Thomas Johns : thomas.johns@uta.edu

The University of Texas at Arlington Personal Financial Education Program held its third “Be Money Smart!” financial education event at various locations around campus from April 1 to April 5, 2024.

The Personal Financial Education Program is an on-campus initiative which provide students and the community financial knowledge and skills to make informed personal financial decisions. Its vision it to transform lives through financial wellness.

Student raises hand at event
A student asks a question at a seminar during “Be Money Smart! week at the University of Texas at Arlington on April 3, 2024.

“Be Money Smart! Week” is a yearly event that invites business partners and campus organizations to teach students, faculty, and local community members how to better save money, invest for the future, and gain skills for financial stability.

Group of smiling students after event
University of Texas at Arlington College of Business Students show off their budgets after a budgeting workshop during “Be Money Smart!” week on April 4, 2024.

“Be Money Smart! Week is UTA’s own curated Financial Education Week. It is primarily set up to provide a much-needed personal financial perspective for students and community members,” said Dr. Ramya Aroul, Personal Financial education Program director. “Although we may not be able to provide them with every tool required to be financially stable, we can provide them with skills to attain the tools they need to set themselves up for the future.”

During the week, attendees were able to take part in 24 seminars and workshops ranging from how to budget and save, to tax essentials for young professionals, and even an introduction to stocks. Many events were geared toward interacting with local business partners and university resources to not only gain valuable knowledge for financialwellness, but to interact with the resources and professionals that can help them in the future.

Group of students who helped organize event
Members of the Financial Education Program (From left) Shobika Suresh, Web Designer, Kalyani Dixit, Student Specialist, and Thiyagavel Nithyanandham, Student Specialist pose for a photo during the “Be Money Smart!” Week event at the University of Texas at Arlington on April 1, 2024.

“What we really try to do is plant seeds that will hopefully come to fruition later. If we can engage with a student at an event, our meeting goes beyond more than just that event,” said Amelia Barber, Student Money Management Center, financial literacy coordinator. “It’s to make sure that if they go into a financial crisis, they’re aware of the resources and strategies they can utilize to mitigate their crisis.”

For many students, this weeklong event is the first exposure to money saving strategies that could lead them to financial stability. By planting the seeds of smart planning and budgeting, students can set themselves up for the future.

“The biggest thing I’m taking from this week, is how to save money. It was eye opening to realize that I need to start budgeting for myself, that way I can see where my money is going and where I’m putting it.” Said Donald Stevens, a Junior Marketing and Management Major. “It’s so I can know I’m making smart decisions and not just spending money needlessly, or frivolously doing away with it.”
Many seminars throughout the week were sponsored by local business partners including American First National Bank, American National Bank of Texas, Bank of America, Bank of the West, Barron’s, Entre Capital, Origin Bank, PNC Bank, Texas A&M University (Commerce), Texas Bank, Valliance Bank, Worthington National Bank, and UTIMCO.


Man talks to college student at event
Michael Bailey, American First National Bank Chief Compliance Officer, speaks with a student at the University of Texas at Arlington Library during a “Be Money Smart!” week Seminar on April 3, 2024.

Allowing local business partners to educate students and community members on financial stability not only brings a sense of credibility to the information, but also fosters a network between students and possible future employers and useful resources.

“Each year, we enthusiastically prepare to present to the Maverick community; we bring financial tips and something delicious for the students to eat,” said JP Garfa, Origin Bank regional retail banking manager. “Every individual must take control of their finances and calibrate their habits in alignment with their income, responsibilities, and priorities. Most self-help financial pundits fail to address the intricacies of each individual’s particular situation and rather give generic advice that is touted as irrefutable gospel, when in fact, it’s meant to be an outline written in pencil, not permanent marker.”

Group stands together for photo after event
Members of Origin Bank pose for a photo at the University of Texas at Arlington Library after completing a seminar on budgeting techniques during a “Be Money Smart Week” event on April 3, 2024.

Though a majority of the weeklong event took place at UTA in various locations, members of the UTA Personal Financial Education Program brought their expertise to Lamar High School in Arlington, Texas for a Personal Financial Education Workshop and Bootcamp for High School Students to foster a sense of financial stability for over 150 High School students.

“Much of the time, it is left up to children to learn how to be financially stable on their own,” Aroul said. “My intention is that they attend a workshop or seminar and it gives them a spark of curiosity into how they can be financially well.”

“Be Money Smart Week” is constantly changing and evolving to educate more communities. While partners, speakers, and specific events may change on a yearly basis, the overall purpose remains the same.

“What drives me is thinking that if this event can change one life, it can have a trickle-down effect to change their family members lives and others lives within their communities,” Aroul said.

Student paints a piggy bank
A student paints a piggy bank during a “Be money Smart!” week event at the University of Texas at Arlington University Center on April 3, 2024.

For more information about to Be Money Smart! Week, visit the Personal Financial Education Program website at https://moneyabcs.uta.edu/ 

Photography by Jalen Larry, Multimedia Producer