Managing money wisely is a big part of adult life, and failing to manage money well during the college years can be disastrous. Poor financial decisions are linked to lower college student achievement, and financial anxiety is the second highest stressor of college students behind academics.

A major reason students leave before they finish their degree is related to individual financial need or hardships. Further, 76% of millennials lack basic financial knowledge, and this number is worse for younger generations (FINRA, 2018).

Through the Biola Financial Planning Association’s peer-to-peer financial coaching program, Biola students can learn more about managing their money and making wise decisions. This program allows students to meet with trained financial-planning students and to be coached on topics like budgeting, taxes, student loans, credit cards, and other important topics to better understand money and become financially responsible.

Peer financial coaching has been shown to reduce financial-related stress immediately and helped students maintain healthier levels of stress for months afterward.

The news gets better: Now, the financial-planning students providing that counseling are even better prepared. Those students can now earn the Certified Christian Financial Counselor (CERTCFC) designation at the end of the program. This is the result of a new partnership between Biola University and the Institute for Christian Financial Health. The CERTCFC designation is for those who desire to counsel or coach in finance through a biblical worldview.

“Traditional financial advising is just that — advice-giving,” said Dr. Shane Enete, associate professor of finance at Biola and program director. “Money is a matter of the heart and head. Financial coaching/counseling helps train students to move from advice-giving to financial facilitation, where they are actively listening and helping empower others to a place where they can come up with their own solutions, which is a far more effective model than just telling people what to do.”

Beginning this semester, all student financial coaches will be simultaneously enrolled in the CERTCFC program. Program competencies include understanding what the Bible says about money, understanding the client, gathering data, setting goals, managing money, reducing debt, educating clients on a variety of financial topics, and several other competencies. Students must pass the CERTCFC examination to receive the designation.

“This training provides a professional credential for students that goes beyond the classroom setting,” said Enete. “It allows students to gain confidence as they apply what they are learning to their financial wellness coaching sessions and seminars. Currently, there are only a handful of programs like it across the nation.”

“I could not be more excited to partner with Biola University,” said Dr. Art Rainer, director of the Institute for Christian Financial Health. “Their peer-to-peer financial coaching program sets Biola apart from other institutions. I look forward to watching Biola students grow in their understanding of God’s design for money and learning practical ways to serve others in personal finances.”

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Learn more about the Biola Financial Planning Association and the Graduate Certificate in Personal Financial Planning.