Giving Compass' Take:

• Melissa Fries explains that financial literacy can prevent students -especially low-income students - from accruing unmanageable student debt. 

• How can financial literacy lessons be inserted into schools and government resources to improve access? What can be done to help students who have already fallen victims to this pattern? 

• Here's why it is necessary to teach financial literacy in schools.

There are many reasons low-income students don’t get a degree — on average, just 9 percent of low-income students graduate college by age 24. Many of those reasons are related to finances, including attending a school they can’t afford or needing to take a job to afford college, which can detract from their focus on their studies.

To change this statistic, we need to deploy financial guidance — both leading up to college decisions and once students are on campus. Ideally, students can receive the former type of guidance from college counselors at their high schools and the latter type of guidance from their college financial aid counselors. Unfortunately, heavy caseloads often preclude this type of individualized attention. But community-based organizations can also provide financial guidance to students.

While college counseling is generally used to help high schoolers get into college, financial guidance is a powerful tool to help students choose the right financial fit and stay in college and obtain a degree. Infusing financial literacy into college counselor training will help students make a good financial-fit decision from the get go. College counselors typically receive training about how to create a balanced list of prospective colleges and how to navigate the application process, but not about how to interpret financial aid award letters and help families make a financially sustainable decision.

Read the full article on financial literacy and college success by Melissa Fries at EdSource.