Publication Date

Spring 2018

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Barbara Burch (Director), Harold Little, and Richard Miller

Degree Program

Educational Leadership Doctoral Program

Degree Type

Doctor of Education


As the cost of college continues to rise, an increasing number of students are relying on loans and credit cards to fund their postsecondary education. In an effort to curb student debt and increase retention and graduation rates, many universities have begun to offer financial literacy initiatives to stimulate financial knowledge and promote positive money management behaviors.

This study examines the relationship between a for-credit personal financial literacy course and student academic success and economic status. Students who took a personal finance course during their first or second year of college are compared to a random sampling of students who did not take the course. Using archival data, this quantitative study measures retention and graduation rates, college GPA, and loan amounts for between and within group differences.

Significant differences were found between the two groups on first- and second-year retention rates, four-year graduation rates, and final college GPA. Students who took the personal finance course were 11.7% more likely to return to the university after their first year of college as compared to those who did not take the course. Second-year retention rates also were higher for the finance course condition students (88%) as compared to non-finance course students (66%). Mean college GPA was significantly higher for finance course participants (3.24) at the end of their last semester of enrollment


Finance | Finance and Financial Management | Higher Education Administration