New website helps undergraduates manage their budgets

A Berkeley College student looks at her laptop on an outdoor bench.

A new website has been launched to help undergraduates manage their money and budgets. The site, Financial Literacy: Managing Your Money at Yale, also features the new online funding request system, SafetyNet, through which undergraduates can request monetary aid for unexpected financial emergencies.

Yale College Dean Marvin Chun announced SafetyNet to students in an email in September, noting that through the new portal, students can request funds from Yale College for emergency medical procedures, traveling costs for family emergencies, and some academic expenses, among other needs. Students who receive emergency funds though SafetyNet do not have to pay back funds they received, says Rebekah Westphal, director of the Yale Office of Fellowship Programs, who was part of the team that created the Financial Literacy website. SafetyNet is financed through the Yale College Dean’s Office, the Offices of Student Affairs and Student Engagement, and the residential colleges.

SafetyNet ensures consistency and fairness in providing all students with the same opportunity to seek funds when they can find no other solution to a financial problem,” Chun said in his email. “It will help students from having to ask multiple sources for support … For those residential college and Yale College staff who have been dealing with these requests on an individual basis, this new tool provides a simple, uniform, and equitable system for providing students this kind of support when it is needed.”

To help students plan a budget and manage money, the Financial Literacy website features links to information about student banking and to money management tips that include such advice as: avoid credit cards, don’t spend too much on restaurant food, buy used textbooks, and more. The site also directs undergraduates to other important links related to their campus finances, including the Office of Student Employment, the Center for International and Professional Experience (CIPE), and the financial resources page of the Yale College First Generation-Low Income website, which includes information useful for all students.

Through the Financial Literacy website, students can also learn about LIT™, a financial education program started by Yale alumna Tara Falcome ’11, that teaches students how to manage money while in school and to prepare for financial life after college. Lessons are taught via a series of short videos, and are free for all Yale students.

Westphal said that the development of SafetyNet and the accompanying Financial Literacy website have been under development for over a year.  “It was very important to us to develop a system that was equitable, transparent, consistent and easy to use,” she adds. “We have been delighted with the way things have gone since the launch and look forward to thinking about what the next phase might look like.”

In addition to Westphal, who led the team, other members included Sam Cohen, director of information technology for the Center for International and Professional Experience; Yale School of Management student Adam Antal, who served as the project’s manager; and CIPE staff members Jane Edwards and Kelly McLaughlin.

To learn more about managing money or about SafetyNet, visit the Financial Literacy website.

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