Ken Paxton

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Texas Attorney General Launches Financial Literacy Initiative To Help Texas College Students

SAN ANTONIO Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today provided credit card and debt education materials to the University of Texas at San Antonio. Under a recently enacted Texas law, state colleges and universities must educate their students about personal financial management. The Attorney General’s Office developed the money management materials, which UTSA will include in their new student orientation program, to help public education institutions satisfy the new legal requirements and educate students about smart financial decision-making.

Attorney General Abbott was joined by Dr. Lisa Blazer, UTSA’s assistant vice president for financial aid and enrollment services, who discussed how the training materials will help UTSA’s college students avoid financial problems right after graduation.

High-interest credit card debt is an increasingly burdensome problem for Texas college students, Attorney General Abbott said. Like educators, parents and students, the Attorney General’s Office is committed to a Texas that offers its youngest generations a bright future that is ripe with economic opportunity. The Money Crunch’ DVD that the Attorney General’s Office developed will help educate college students about their personal finances so that they start their careers on solid financial footing.

In 2007, after hearing concerns about college graduates’ increasing debt burden, Texas lawmakers enacted legislation that requires public colleges and universities to include financial counseling in their new student orientation programs. Specifically, educational institutions in Texas that designate an on-campus credit card marketing location must adopt policies that incorporate credit card and debt education including information about debt counseling into new student orientation.

To help Texas colleges and universities comply with state law, the Attorney General’s Office developed financial education brochure templates and provided them to each public college and university provost.

The Attorney General’s Office also created an audiovisual resource to help educational institutions comply with the debt counseling education requirement. Relying on grant funds obtained through the National Association of Attorneys General, the agency produced a 14-minute, award-winning DVD entitled, Money Crunch.

The Money Crunch DVD advises college students to avoid common credit card pitfalls and adopt five financial management guidelines:

Know each credit card’s terms.
Make timely payments and pay more than the minimum due.
Understand the credit card’s fees, including late fees and interest rates.
Protect personal and financial information.
Read and understand the credit card contract.

For more information about Attorney General Abbott’s financial education initiative, including the related brochure, Financial Literacy: Advice for College Students about Credit Cards, visit the agency’s website at