WSU should provide UCORE classes that prepare students for post-graduate financial success

With so much focus on preparing Cougs for success in their majors, there is lack of emphasis on teaching about financial independence



Our university is writing students a check for financial failure that we do not know how to read — because we have not been taught.

MEGHAN HENRY, Evergreen managing editor

Many students at WSU graduate with memories and a community unlike any other university alumni.

However, some students argue that our education is not fully preparing us for day-to-day life after graduation.

Paying bills, filing taxes, writing a check or taking out a loan are all learnable skills. They are teachable. So why is it that only finance majors have access to the classes that teach these skills?

“Finance class-wise, the best class I took in college was Finance 437, which was the Cougar Investment Fund,” said Lucas Allen, a recent WSU alum.

Allen got the most out of this class because it was “hands on” rather than learning to memorize equations or terms.

“That was the raddest class because … we actually traded real money and actually got to do something,” Allen said.

This class, like all 400-level classes, is available only to those students who have completed the levels of prerequisites that came before it. In this case, that would be finance majors only.

UCORE classes — the university’s basic curriculum requirements which all students have to meet — provide a variety of choices.

From Biology 307: Biology of Women, to CES 291: Anti-Semitism, to DATA 424: Data Analytics Capstone or Music 428: Opera Workshop, there is a range of intriguing options.

Although these are all relatively interesting and important classes for one’s major or passion, they do not approach “helpful” when considering the skills needed for a financially independent life.

And classes like Finance 437 — Allen’s most influential class from his studies — are not listed. In fact, I did not see a single finance-focused class on the list.

“In some classes that I would take, there would be teachers who would play in a lesson, or play in life skills and then they would put that into real life,” WSU senior Trey Austin said. “I feel like learning about [speaking and financial skills] to go into the real world is actually something that you need to know … and not extra algebra.”

It is important for students to be prepared for success not only within their major but in their financial life, too.

Without a solid education or years of practice in one’s field of study, no student would be able to find a job. Realistically, college is supposed to enhance natural talents in English, math or science. Few students could go without this supplemental education.

The same goes for financial knowledge. Without the right information, very few students would be able to understand important things like taxes.

“Unless you are going into a career that you actually need [to write analytical papers], you shouldn’t be in those unnecessary classes,” Austin said. “You should be learning the basic math for your interest rate for your loans.”

I had to Google “what are those two things in taxes to that determine how much money you might get back,” to remember the words “standard deduction” and “itemized deduction.”

And I even took the one basic finance class I have heard of at WSU (Finance 223, which is not a UCORE requirement and is not well-advertised).

Imagine not even knowing those terms exist!

WSU is putting its students at a massive disadvantage by not providing these classes as a basic course requirement.

It should be expected that preparing students for success also means preparing us for financial independence outside of our careers.

“Understanding what you should be putting into savings for you to be able to retire at a certain age, learning how to prepare for rent, or setting aside [income] for rent or your mortgage … that’s what [the university] should be talking about,” Austin said.

Our university is putting our students at a massive disadvantage by not providing these vital classes to students of all majors.

In addition to providing the variety of interesting classes already available for UCORE, the least our university could do is include basic, broad financial classes on that list of options.