USQ students provide financial literacy assistance to youth


Students at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Springfield campus will create a series of financial literacy radio segments and an educational DVD as part of their Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) community project.

USQ Lecturer Ashley Jones said the students would present their financial literacy initiatives at the SIFE National Championships in Brisbane on 10 to 12 July 2008, with the hope of competing at a national and international level.

'The students will be judged on the degree of community engagement reached, financial management skills, ethical practices and the degree of sustainability their programs achieved,' Mr Jones said.

'Through the SIFE competition, business and industry become involved in a partnership to mentor students and judge their projects.

'It is a great opportunity to for them to network and learn while putting their knowledge into action.'

USQ student Amina Maric said the team's financial literacy project involved a series of radio programs to be broadcast on USQ's Phoenix Radio online radio station and the creation of DVD's for distribution to schools and universities.

'We plan to interview representatives from Bendigo Bank, Lifeline, Telstra, the Rental Bond Authority, and Centrelink amongst others to provide access to information, advice and support on key financial topics for students aged 12 to 25 years,' Ms Maric said.

'The aim of the program is to supply young people with an avenue to easily access relevant information which will enhance the outcomes of the financial decisions they make.

'In this age of information overload we are attempting to cut through the ‘red tape' so to speak and develop a streamlined information gathering system focussing on creating positive financial outcomes.'

Ms Maric said their research found the 12 to 25 year old age bracket had several main concerns when it came to handling their finances.

'Managing their mobile phone and internet debts, rental accommodation, handling debt stress, taxation preparation, how to save and credit card and other debts were high on the list of concerns for this age group.

'More young people are staying home longer and are less able to afford housing - young people are at risk of poverty and financial hardship.

'Young people aged 15 to 19 on average earn $40 to $79 in a week, while 20 to 24 year olds earn a peak of $400 to $499 per week – this isn't much to live on.

'There is quite a lot of financial stress on young people, particularly students these days, with rising food, accommodation and fuel costs.

'Given the current situation for young people in Australia, knowing how to save money and how to best use their financial resources will support a more independent group who are currently reliant upon parents or care givers.

'Through the radio programs, podcasts and information DVDs we hope to give young people access to information and avenues to get the help they need to make better financial decisions.

'We are particularly lucky to have Phoenix Radio as a way to broadcast the information, as live streaming from the internet is a popular way to access information for people in this age bracket.

'One of our long term objectives is to conduct regular interviews on an ongoing basis to provide a continual stream of relevant financial literacy information.'

USQ SIFE students received a $600 grant from HSBC to create the radio streamed program to assist young people in the area of personal financial planning.

'We must thank HSBC for their amazing support of our project and their commitment to helping young people handle their financial obligations,' Ms Maric said.

Media Contact: Jo-Ann Sparrow, USQ Media, +61 7 3470 4119 or 0428 102 979