Offering help

Peer mentor program to promote financial literacy

Ferris’ financial aid office launched a new peer mentor program this fall to promote financial awareness among students.

The financial awareness student team (FAST) was created this semester as a result of one of the recommendations from President David Eisler’s 2012 Student Debt Task Force.

FAST provides the financial aid office with opportunities to share information about financial aid processes, loan debt considerations and money management techniques that are designed to help students be financially responsible now and in the future.

“The primary goal of FAST is to make students aware of their finances,” Financial Aid Advisor Melanie Mulder said. “Some students make poor financial decisions in college, not realizing that those decisions can literally impact their quality of life for decades.”

Ferris junior accountancy/public accounting major Catalina Pinzon Mendez and sophomore mechanical engineering technology major Mary Kate McKeown were hired in late September to begin the program.

So far, no students have utilized FAST this year.

Both Mendez and McKeown will soon be holding office hours to provide students with one-on-one financial counseling services. The types of services include loan repayment and debt prevention options for students that are about to graduate, budget and consumer credit counseling and assistance with completing federal loan requirements.

“Mendez and McKeown have learned information during their training that will benefit them for the rest of their lives, and they want to share that information with other Ferris students,” Mulder said.

Mendez and McKeown will conduct Financial Awareness presentations to FSU100 classes for freshmen and are trying to initiate a new RSO. Their plans for the organization include holding workshops each semester on financial topics of interest to Ferris students.

“If FAST can help even a small number of students make sound financial decisions, then it will be considered successful,” Mulder said.

A FAST webpage is being constructed that will include profiles of Mendez and McKeown.

More information about FAST and student updates on the formation of the RSO can be found at