Campus lauded for promoting financial literacy for students

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Posted: Oct 27, 2011

The START Financial Literacy Program at UH Mānoa has received awards totaling $41,000 from USA Funds in recognition of the campus’ efforts to promote financial literacy and help students minimize and manage their student loan debt.
An awards ceremony attended by USA Funds officials, financial community partners and UH Mānoa faculty, staff, students and administration was held on Friday, October 21, at the Queen Lili‘uokalani Center for Student Services. 
At the ceremony, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Reed Dasenbrock commended the program for representing a faculty-led initiative that is contributing to undergraduate education.  “Our students need to graduate with financial literacy, and this program is making a real contribution to that important goal,” he said.
START (Saving Toward A Rewarding Tomorrow) is a collaboration of faculty/staff members from diverse units on campus that is now supported by the Office of Undergraduate Education (OUE). This program enhances the OUE focus on student success and developing active levels of participation in student learning.
USA Funds is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, that helps American families benefit from postsecondary education.
Since 2006, UH Mānoa has undertaken a financial literacy initiative that relies on students teaching other students. The program began by using peer educators to teach incoming students about personal finance issues during New Student Orientation. 
Based on the success of those presentations, UH Mānoa expanded its financial literary training, including delivering financial literacy lessons to freshmen learning communities. The peer educators also led workshops for students with the cooperation of Student Support Services, Cooperative Extension, Student Life and Development, and Financial Aid Services.
From the program’s inception, almost 3,000 UH Mānoa students have completed the lessons of USA Funds Life Skills, a financial literacy program for college students, and have demonstrated on average a statistically significant gain in personal finance knowledge. 
In addition, 400 students who participated in University-sponsored financial literacy workshops demonstrated greater awareness on 13 of 20 indicators. As noted by Jimmy Leung, a START peer educator, “By using our own experiences and sharing our financial knowledge with others, we feel that we have just opened the door to a better future for our fellow students.”
For more information or to schedule a financial literacy workshop, send an email to
Photo caption: UH Mānoa students, faculty and staff join USA Funds officials in celebrating the campus’ award for promoting financial literacy and helping students minimize and manage their student loan debt. The ceremony was held at the Queen Lili‘uokalani Center for Student Services on October 21.