Within the first few days of her new job in Student Financial Services (SFS) last summer, Erica Aguiar, SFS’s new Associate Director of Financial Education, got right to work meeting and talking with students. During her discovery meetings, students said they weren’t sure where to go for help with questions about their personal finances. So, an obvious first step for Aguiar was to get in front of as many students as possible in as many ways as she could. “Students here have real interest in budgeting and investing. But they are unsure of where to begin,” she says.
Over the past year, Aguiar has consulted and met with 15 offices and other student groups at MIT. She has presented five general financial aid presentations and formed partnerships with Daily Table, an at-cost grocery store in Central Square, the Office of the First Year, and the Office of Sustainability. She collaborated with the International Students Office on a workshop called Budgeting 101, with the Career Advising and Professional Development Office on first-generation resource sharing and with the Residence Hall Chocolate City on investing and savings. A highlight for Aguiar was co-teaching the Physical Education and Wellness course for two sections this past spring with Sarah Johnson in DAPER. “Sara taught the yoga and we handled the financial presentation part,” says Aguiar. “It’s a great way to learn about stressful subjects in a non-stressful way.”
In addition to increasing the amount and variety of programs for the coming semester, Aguiar has recently finalized a strategic plan for financial education in SFS. “I want to ensure that every MIT student acquires a basic working knowledge of prudent financial planning and is able to develop future financial goals,” she says.
Any OVC office interested in a financial education program or partnering with SFS can reach out to Erica at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Kris Guay; SFS and Admissions