College - Author 1

College of Liberal Arts

Department - Author 1

Communication Studies Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BA in Communication Studies



Primary Advisor

Aubrie Adams, College of Liberal Arts, Communication Studies Department


This research project examines the wants, needs, and desires of Cal Poly students to inform the creation of a financial literacy tool (tentatively named “MoneySmart”) to be created by another student. The methodologies used to gauge these metrics were a literature review and questionnaire. The literature review aids in understanding research regarding the current state of student financial literacy in the United States, including student attitudes toward the topic. Subsequent findings were used to create the questionnaire, which inquired about students’ financial stress, confidence in their abilities to manage their personal finances, specific interests for the design and contents of a financial literacy training tool, and demographics. Key findings showed that on average, Cal Poly students experience just below moderate levels of stress with regard to finances just below moderately often, they have received a moderate-to-low amount of financial literacy education, and they have moderate-to-low levels of confidence in their knowledge of personal finances. Furthermore, no significant preference was found between learning about the topics of budgeting, loans/debt management, credit, or taxes, but a notable portion of students were interested in learning about stocks and other investments. Finally, students were drawn to the idea of a financial literacy training tool that is interactive, engaging, portrays relatable transactions, and is high resolution. They were less drawn to the tool being student-made, having an endorsement from Cal Poly, including quizzes throughout, and offering a digital certificate upon completion.