Financial Planning | Training & CPE

Hot college courses? Make room for personal finance

Cap Every college has one.

I'm talking about that one course that's so quirky and popular that almost nobody gets to actually take it. Once those precious few seats are filled and registration closes, the course almost becomes an urban legend. We all know someone who has a friend whose roommate took the course, and rumors fly about the content, but that's as close as must of us ever come.

The Daily Beast has found 10 great examples of courses like this. They include Middlebury College's "The Economics of Sin," Auburn University's "Dave Letterman Physics," Kansas State's "Harry Potter's Library" and Yale's "Amazon Rain Forest Expedition and Laboratory," which includes an actual spring break expedition to an Ecuadorian rain forest.

A list like that is the last place you'd expect to find a course titled "Personal Finance," but at Wellesley College, it's all the rage.

Taught by Professor Ann Witte, the course teaches students how to master some of life's most important skills -- using credit cards wisely, making the most of a 401(k), how to invest for retirement, getting adequate life and health insurance, and more.

"It's not exactly sexy stuff," National Public Radio's Tovia Smith reports, "but this is the course at Wellesley that fills up minutes after registration opens."

"It's dry," student Fatima Burney agreed in an interview with Smith, "but this is what you need to know before you go out into the real world." Another student, Noelle Fogg, told The Daily Beast that the class "should be renamed ‘life skills’ and be mandatory.”

And you thought nobody wanted to learn this stuff.

Listen to the NPR report in its entirety.

For CPAs who have spent years spreading the financial literacy message, this is the Holy Grail: Students who actually crave financial know-how.

We know how important it is. Heck, Maryland itself is considering making it mandatory. Now we know there's a demand for this knowledge. Here's our opportunity to make a difference.


Bill Sheridan