Increasing Financial Literacy Among Undergraduate Students

33 Pages Posted: 29 May 2020

Date Written: April 30, 2020


This study examines the financial literacy levels of students at Middle Tennessee State University and the effectiveness of tools on campus to increase students’ knowledge of basic financial topics and their own student debt. We administer a survey across campus to students in multiple finance classes and to the general student population. Around half of our student respondents answer correctly all of the “Big Three” questions testing financial literacy, a higher proportion answering correctly than the average in several prior studies conducted around the world. We find mixed results regarding our respondents’ understanding of their own student loan debt with some aspects being well understood and others being vastly misunderstood. Our results show that the most effective instrument on campus to improve students’ financial literacy is the completion of a finance course. Respondents who have completed a Middle Tennessee State University finance course are more likely to answer questions on financial topics correctly and to understand their own student loan debt.

Keywords: financial literacy, student debt, finance education

JEL Classification: G00, G28, I22

Suggested Citation

Barreto, Montgomery and Gamble, Keith Jacks, Increasing Financial Literacy Among Undergraduate Students (April 30, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Montgomery Barreto

FMC CPAs, PLLC ( email )

Keith Jacks Gamble (Contact Author)

Middle Tennessee State University ( email )

MTSU Box 27
Murfreesboro, TN 37129
United States

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