Back to Top
Utility Nav Top Nav Content News Nav Site Search
Close Main Menu

Students share financial knowledge as money mentors

2019-11-20-SMMC-money-mentors
Student Money Management Center money mentors share financial literacy information in workshops, classrooms and during SMMC events on all UNG campuses.

University of North Georgia (UNG) junior Aida Alarcon walked into the Student Money Management Center (SMMC) during the 2019 spring semester for one reason. The junior pursuing a visual arts degree was planning a trip to Ecuador in the summer and wanted to ensure she could afford it.

The meeting helped immensely and sparked an interest in Alarcon.

"After hearing everything Jordan Allen was telling me, I wanted to know more," Alarcon said. "With my major being art, I'm a bit paranoid because I hear horror stories about art majors and their finances after college."

The 21-year-old from Braselton, Georgia, returned again and again to chat with Allen, graduate assistant with the SMMC. Alarcon brought her sister on one visit and two more friends on another. The purpose was for all of them to learn about financial literacy.

Based on these interactions, Allen knew Alarcon was the ideal person to become an SMMC money mentor. Implemented in fall 2019, students receive training through the SMMC on UNG's Dahlonega and Gainesville campuses as well as online through the National Financial Educators Council. When their training is complete, students will receive Certified Financial Education Instructor credentials and can share financial literacy information in workshops, classrooms and during SMMC events on all UNG campuses. 

"For us, the motivation of initiating the money mentor program is to promote our office's resources and educate students," Allen said. "Students who are money mentors can relate better to students in the classroom or hallways."

Ana Alba, a junior pursuing a mathematics degree, heard about the SMMC during her orientation leader training in summer 2019. The 22-year-old from Flowery Branch, Georgia, was awed by the information SMMC coordinator Jean Cyprien shared.

"I loved her presentation, and how she said her office could help students set a budget," Alba said, adding she accepted the offer and made an appointment with Cyprien.

The meeting opened Alba's eyes to her spending habits. The full-time college student with a part-time job explained she would eat regularly at restaurants with her friends, who worked full time and were not in college.

"I didn't have as much money coming in as my friends, but I didn't want to be left out," she said. "So I spent money I didn't have, and then I would wonder, 'Where did my money go?'"

Thanks to the SMMC, Alba found her answer. Cyprien helped her devise a budget. Now, Alba is a money mentor with a passion to share her knowledge with UNG students and especially first-generation students like herself.

"Some students don't know what is going on and don't know about credit," Alba said, explaining her parents haven't been able to answer all of her financial questions. "I was the same way. I didn't know what to do. Now, students have me and the other money mentors and they can feel more comfortable talking to us. Then, I can let them know SMMC is great resource."

Money mentors meet regularly for on-going training throughout their two-semester commitment, and are able to present on a variety of personal finance topics.  Student organizations, faculty and staff are able to request the services of the Money Mentors by contacting the Student Money Management Center.  

UNG follows Section 508 Standards and WCAG 2.0 for web accessibility. If you require the content on this web page in another format, please contact the ADA Coordinator.

Back to Top