Office of the President

Office of the President
Barge Hall 314
Mail stop 7501
(509) 963-2111




Office of the President

2. Advancing Financial Literacy

It’s widely known that student debt has increased significantly over the last 20 years, and stories about financial aid-related struggles have gathered significant national attention. According to a national report by the Institute for College Access and Success (2020), undergraduates who took out student loans held an average balance of nearly $29,000 upon completion. In the State of Washington, TICAS (2020) noted an average undergraduate debt of $24,645 among those who graduated with debt. While student debt in Washington remains below the national average, the burden facing current and prospective students still represents an insurmountable barrier for many to access the state’s dynamic education and training programs that lead to economic opportunity.

As we seek to provide additional debt relief for students across the state, CWU will focus on increasing the financial literacy of our students and expanding that work in the high schools through our College in the High School and Running Start programs. Because Central accounts for the most enrollments in College in the High School and Running Start—serving 4,600 students in 160 school districts statewide—we are well positioned to have a significant impact on this issue.

The initiative will be led by our Center for Financial Planning and Well-being and the Financial Wellness Center in the Department of Student Financial Services. The Financial Aid Office, College of Business, and Office of Extended and Global Studies also will play a significant role in the process of educating more students and families about the relative financial advantages of pursuing a degree at CWU.