Reimagining an FLC that’s more beneficial for our students

Illustration by Monique | The Signal

According to the Georgia State website, the Freshman Learning Community “provides students with essential information” that “contribute[s] to academic success.”

Many students have expressed their frustrations that the FLC is a mandatory course that counts toward your GPA but does not count towards your required credit hours for graduation. The FLC serves to inform students of basic rules regarding topics such as plagiarism and sexual assault, which are necessary to introduce but do not require a semester-long course.

Trueman Massat, a senior film major, vocalized his opinions on the course.

“[The course] makes sure people know what they need to do for classes and when they need help, resources to pull from,” Massat said. “[But it is] ultimately used as a vehicle to make friends.”

Massat agreed that a mandatory course that counts toward your GPA should provide a more educational experience that is applicable to all students. 

What course would be universally applicable and highly beneficial for every student to take before embarking on their college journey? Financial literacy.

The German Institute for Economic Research published that “financial education significantly impacts financial behavior and, to an even larger extent, financial literacy,” noting that effectiveness is highly dependent on offering such education “at a ‘teachable moment’ i.e. when teaching is directly linked to decisions of immediate relevance to the target group.”

Nearly 60% of the Georgia State student body live at or below the poverty line, and 85% of our student body hold full or part-time jobs. In addition, the estimated cost of tuition, fees, books and supplies per semester is $6,538 for Georgia residents and $16,057 for out-of-state students.

It is clear that some level of financial education would be linked to decisions of immediate relevance for our students, especially as COVID-19 threw the U.S. economy into a recession as early as February of this year, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The Journal of Personal Finance published that financial literacy plays an important role in “…preventing the youth from engaging in over-borrowing, and therefore accumulating large amounts of debt too early in their lives”. Researchers observed that many college students suffer from an “overconfidence effect” which often leads to poor financial decisions and accumulation of debts. While “for most students, there may be very little options to finance their education if it is not through student loans” it was concluded that, “…teaching financial knowledge to all college students may create the necessary synergy to provide better financial management knowledge as they enter the workforce.” 

The reinvented FLC (Financial Literacy Course) would be an incredible step in the right direction for Georgia State, joining universities such as Duke, Yale and Harvard, who have started providing courses on financial literacy. Georgia State students deserve better access to this information, than a webpage that’s buried in the university library website.

Students like  noted that while the current function of the FLC is necessary, our time attending the course could be better spent learning something practical and universally applicable.

“I one hundred percent believe more financial resources being made mandatory in school would be beneficial for everyone,” Massat said.