Tweet Chats

Join the USFSCO Student Money Management Center every Thursday at 4 p.m. (CST) for a dynamic way to interact and talk with your peers on a variety of personal finance topics. Think of it as a weekly coffee date with your friends where you can share ideas on how to have a frugal Valentine’s Day or how to repay student loans. For a list of topics we cover, check here:

In order to join the conversation on Twitter, just follow us at @ILStudentMoney, search the hashtag #UIMoney, and use that hashtag to ask and answer questions. Tweet ya on Thursday!

Written by Alex Ziskind, University of Illinois USFSCO Student Money Management Center

Upcoming Financial Literacy Events!

On our campus:

“Borrowing Trouble? Student Loans, the Cost of Borrowing , and Implications for the Effectiveness of Needs-Based Grant Aid”
Ben Marx, Assistant Professor – Department of Economics at Illinois
April 9, 2014 – 12:00pm
IGPA Giertz Conference Room, 1007 West Nevada, Urbana, IL 61801

In this paper, we estimate the impact of need-based grant aid on City University of New York (CUNY) students’ borrowing and educational attainment using regression discontinuity and regression kink designs. Pell Grant aid reduces borrowing: on average, an additional dollar of Pell Grant aid leads to $0.37 reduction in federal loans. Among borrowers, a dollar of Pell Grant aid crowds-out over $1.60 of loans. We develop a simple model that illustrates our findings are consistent with students facing a fixed cost of incurring debt. We show that in the presence of such a fixed cost, additional grant aid may decrease some students’ educational attainment. Empirically, we find no evidence that Pell Grant aid increases educational attainment, and can rule out impacts as small as a $1000 increase in Pell Grant aid leading to an additional 3 credits. Finally, we show that the fixed cost has economically meaningful impacts on behavior: we estimate that relaxing it would increase the borrowing rate by 60 percent.

Please contact Angela Clark Terrall at or 217-333-3340 if you would like to schedule a meeting with our speaker or be removed from our email list.


Personal Finance for PhDs: A Guided Q&A with Amy Salo, CFP®
April 9 @ 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM | $20

6:00 – 6:30 PM               Wine, hors d’oeuvres, informal networking
6:30 – 7:30 PM               Guided Q&A with Amy Salo, CFP®
7:30 – 8:00 PM               Informal networking continued

This workshop will focus squarely on the financial concerns of those who have earned, or are in the process of earning, a PhD. Amy will review the three layers of optimal financial balance: protection, savings, and debt management. She will address concerns specific to PhDs, including the crippling effect of over-thinking, opportunity costs, future challenges posed by deferred retirement savings, and the importance of getting your financial priorities right.

There is a finite amount of money flowing through your balance sheet during your working life.  We can’t know in advance exactly what that number will be, but we do know that once it is in our rear view mirror, we can’t change it. Amy will help participants move toward a confident, clear path for making the most of opportunities.  Money is not created by stress or avoidance. We can only optimize what it is that we are working with, protect it, save it, and always, always make it work for us.

Co-Sponsored by PhDs at Work and  NYU Wasserman Center for Career Development

Cultivating Currency: Creating Your Money Landscape


Tuesday, March 11, 2014
noon – 5:00 p.m.
Illini Union

Pre-register for the chance to win prizes!

Keynote address at 1:00 p.m., Illini Union, Rooms B & C
“Starting Small: Preparing for your Financial Future Today”
by Alejo Torres, Senior Outreach Manager for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

The financial decisions you make while in school – at both the undergraduate and graduate level – can impact your future economic and educational opportunities.

Learn how to think smart about your money landscape during this half-day event which includes an information expo, breakout sessions on specific money topics, and keynote address by Alejo Torres.

This event is co-sponsored by the Graduate College and the Office of the Dean of Students, and is funded in part through a grant from the TIAA-CREF and Council of Graduate Schools in partnership with the Provost’s Office, Office of Student Financial Aid, USFSCO Student Money Management Center, and University of Illinois Extension.

This symposium will answer important financial questions asked by
undergraduate and graduate students and is open to the entire campus community.
For more information, please contact the Graduate College at