Kettering University to offer new Personal Finance courses for students

Starting in Winter 2019, Kettering University will offer new Personal Finance courses for students.

The two-part, two-credit courses will help students learn how to plan their financial futures through budgeting, investing in the stock market, managing credit, and more.

The class, BUSN 191 - Personal Finance I, is practically focused rather than academically focused, said Dr. Ken Williams, School of Management faculty member at Kettering University. It’s a pass/fail course and has no text books, no quizzes, and no tests. A weekly assignment will replace quizzes and tests. The class will meet one day a week for two hours. Students will create a budget or analyze student loan payment options using either their own financial numbers or phantom numbers, depending on their personal choice.

Dr. Ken Williams, Kettering University School of Management faculty member

“The end result is that the student has created short-term and long-term financial goals and steps toward achieving them,” Williams said.

The first part of the course is centered on planning for the first five years after graduation, including creating a personal financial statement; building and maintaining good credit; analyzing the terms of a credit card or loan; managing student loans, investing in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds; managing income taxes, and developing a five-year plan. The second part, which is offered in Spring 2019, is focused on the rest of students’ lives, including managing housing decisions and understanding mortgages; understanding and calculating insurance; generating passive income; learning about financial pitfalls; retirement planning; estate planning; charitable giving; and developing a long-term financial plan.

“Kettering stresses for students to give back in some form. Even in a personal finance class, we can talk about giving back,” Williams said.

The class originated after Brennen Gleason ‘19 approached Williams and asked why such a course didn’t exist. This course was something Williams also wanted; he took the idea to School of Management Dean Michael Smith and Provost James Zhang, who also loved the idea. Gleason, a Mechanical Engineering and Business Administration dual major, took the role of talking to students and learning what they were interested in to help shape the syllabus. The class is meant to be helpful rather than burdensome for students, he said.

“It is important that our students understand how to be successful in handling their finances,” Williams said.

Kettering faculty members talk about student-centered learning in which students are empowered because they have a say in their learning, Williams said. Personal Finance is a perfect example of a student bringing their wishes to the attention of the University and helping to create the final courses.

Gleason was excited to get the positive response and interest from students and professors.

"Growing up my parents always taught me how not to spend money, not necessarily how to invest and save for the future,” he said. “Since I am striving for a future where I have financial freedom, I hope to learn skills which optimize my financial success."