Financial Competence For Student Mothers

If you’re in college—congratulations; if you’re a mother who is also in school, double kudos to you. Both jobs— being a student and being a mother—are equally challenging. If you can juggle those two heavy hats, then I applaud you. But we know that it all can be quite overwhelming and expensive.

Especially since job prospects are slim, as unemployment creeps up past nine percent nationwide, there is very little hope that an immediate change will come. Also, gas, food, clothing and tuition costs are all on the rise, making the decision to stay in school a very costly one, especially if you have motherhood woes to worry about.

Now, what if your college or university taught you how to be financially competent in all areas of your life? Surprisingly, this isn’t happening. Colleges and universities across the nation are teaching students the benefits of theater appreciation and economics, but aren’t teaching students the basics of quality personal finance.

And now is the perfect time.

“Students want to hear this information. There is a change brewing, and students are at the forefront. Citizens are tired of feeling like they don’t have control over their money, and they’re taking action,” says Ellina Graypel, organizer and musician for Music For Change, a student concert rally for credit education. The rally is to be held at New York City’s famous Sullivan Hall, on October 16 at 6 p.m.

The event will feature Dada Goldenchild & The Chosen, Video DJ Chris Landry, (i am) isis, Daso, and Judah Tribe. The event is free to attend, and will also have a panel of personal finance experts, and a raffle to pay off debt. At the raffle, participants will be able to win up to id="mce_marker",000 to pay off their credit card debt, in addition to $500 towards their favorite annual magazine subscriptions.

Music for Change, organized by the Student Credit Card Initiative (SCCE), is a group of current students and recent graduate students who identified with the current debt problem afflicting most of the nation’s students. Fed up with lack of information about personal finance, money management, and debt prevention, the students decided to form an initiative that hopes to create change in the education system.

They have recruited a number of musicians who have had personal finance woes similar to theirs. Each one of the musicians performing has a personal finance story to share with attendees. Graypel once used to be a teenage pop sensation back in the USSR before moving to New York City, where she declared bankruptcy. In four years, she upped her credit score 300 points, from 500 to 800. "What this event is doing is creating awareness, and as an artist I can do that. We are musicians, but we got the same places and feel the same pressures like everyone else," she said.

The U.S. Department of Commerce finds that college enrollment for people between the ages of 18 and 24 have increased close to three million from 2000 to 2009. What’s even more startling is that the average cost of a public university is somewhere between $40,000 and $50,000.  Public institutions can run you up over id="mce_marker"00,000 in tuition expenses.

"Students have been hard hit by rising tuition costs and the governments' ever-tightening of its belt on contributions towards education; students are increasingly feeling the squeeze. Like their predecessors of the '60s, they're using music as a form of expressing their loud and evident dissatisfaction." said Michael Germanovsky, the PR Director for SCCE.

It’s always been clear that being a mom was an expensive and time consuming task, but if you decided to take on the added responsibility of a college education, debt may be on your horizon. Maybe much of your money is tied up due to a lack of financial education, or maybe it’s due to spreading your resources too thin—either way the solution to the problem doesn’t lie in a classroom, until we rally to get it there.

Music For Change Event: October 16, 2011. 6 p.m. Sullivan Hall, 214 Sullivan Street, New York, NY. Admission 21 and up. Phone 754-242-9042.

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