Graduate Program

College Student Affairs

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Dena R. Kniess


This study researched the financial literacy of first-year students relating to their personal finances and financial aid at a rural, Midwestern, four-year public institution. The participants in the study were limited to first-year students with no previous college credit. There were 97 participants in this study, with 84 participant's completing the entire survey. Results of the study indicated that overall students did have financial literacy relating to their financial aid. The results also indicated that students main and original source of financial knowledge came from their parent or guardian. Recommended for Student Affairs Professional is to create more comprehensive orientation programs that discuss students financial aid in depth and to create on campus resource centers for students to be able to utilize to help develop financial literacy. Further research recommendations are to look specifically at first generation students to determine if their financial literacy is comparable to non-first generation students. A study design that involved surveying students as freshman and again at seniors could also be conducted to see if students develop financial literacy over time.