Jan 3, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

From astronomy to zoology, the fields of study pursued by graduate students are very different. But today’s diverse students all share at least one thing in common: They will eventually complete their degrees; enter the “real world;” and have to support themselves -- a daunting prospect for many. But you don’t have to wait until graduation to start thinking about your financial future thanks to a new program aimed at increasing financial literacy in academia. Here’s a closer look.

Money Woes Abound

Approximately 60 percent of master’s students and 55 percent of PhD students report feeling stressed about finances, according to joint research from The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) and financial services provider TIAA.

These fears aren’t exactly unfounded given the staggering cost of student loans and further data revealing that the majority of graduate students report that they have no financial education. Factor in that financial literacy has been linked with everything from increasing degree completion rates to promoting diversity on college campuses, and the need for corrective action becomes even clearer.

Amping up Educational Opportunities

In response, CGS and TIAA have joined force to launch the Enhancing Student Financial Education Program. Through this initiative, 34 US universities are currently developing financial education programs for graduate students, according to news from Financial Advisor.

Demand is high for this type of programming according to CGA and TIAA findings, with students expressing the desire to learn more about a comprehensive range of financial topics -- from how to select employee benefits to planning for retirement.

But even if your university doesn’t yet offer a financial literacy program, options for raising your financial knowledge abound -- starting with GradSense, a free, interactive, financial planning program for graduate students. The overall takeaway? For students who take advantage of these and other resources, worries about meeting monthly expenses -- let alone saving for the future -- don’t have to be part of the graduate school experience.



Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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