Happy Financial Literacy Month!

Congratulations on being admitted to Olin! Now that admission decisions have been released, we’re honored and excited to welcome new Oliners to our community this fall. As you know, you have the entire month of April to make your college choice (read a student’s perspective on making this choice by Mads ’22 here). It’s a time to celebrate, discuss, and make some decisions.

What you might not know, though, is that April is also National Financial Literacy Month! In the Office of Admission & Financial Aid, we strive to think beyond financial aid itself to promote financial wellness, which is about developing the knowledge, skills, and mindsets to make great financial choices. Through our new HOPES (Helping Oliners Plan Economic Success) program, we’re planning a month of fun and informative activities on campus in honor of Financial Literacy Month.

People are sometimes surprised when I tell them I organize financial wellness programming at Olin. Given the bright career outlook for engineers, they express skepticism about the value of cultivating financial wellness in our students. When they learn, for example, that the average starting salary for Olin alumni graduating in 2016-18 was $83,345, they scoff and say, “The last thing those students need to learn about is money!” Now, I’ll admit to being somewhat awestruck myself by this number, which is significantly higher than what I earned as a new college graduate. I’m proud of Oliners’ interesting, diverse, and impactful post-graduate pursuits, and it’s wonderful to see them start their careers on such strong financial footing.

We do our students a disservice, however, when we assume that because they embark on impressive careers when they graduate, they are financially set for life. This is not the case. Have you ever heard stories about people winning millions of dollars in the lottery and then losing it all, or even being worse off than they were before? Certainly these are extreme examples (the research on lottery winners is more complex than these sensational stories would have us believe), but they shed light on an important truth: Money alone is not enough to ensure lifelong financial wellness if you don’t also have a foundation for making smart financial decisions. Since Olin values educating the whole engineer, it’s crucial that our students build that foundation while they’re here.

The good news for you, admitted students, is that you can begin your financial wellness journey even before you get to campus! While topics like budgeting, investing, and doing your taxes are all important, college itself is likely the biggest investment you’ve made so far in your life (and probably will remain so for some time). The magnitude of this financial decision presents both a challenge and an opportunity for you and your family.

You can make the most of this opportunity by fully engaging in the financial aid process and making use of all the resources available to you. Instead of looking over your financial aid awards and calling it a day (remember, colleges can’t possibly communicate all the information you need in a one-page award letter!), take the time to dig into the materials, challenge your assumptions, and talk to us. It can feel scary and overwhelming, but doing this will empower you with confidence and fluency around financial aid.

Here are some of the steps you can take today to help you understand your Olin financial aid (check out the Financial Aid tab of your Admitted Student Portal to access them):

  • Sign up for a financial aid phone appointment in April
  • Watch our new financial aid video
  • Read the “Financial Aid: A Closer Look” brochure

And, as always, please reach out to us anytime at finaid@olin.edu or 781-292-2215. We’re here to help!

Posted in: Alia, All Admission Staff Blogs