California State University, Long Beach
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Free Financial Advising Now Available for CSULB Students

Published: October 1, 2010

As a new resource for its students, CSULB is making available Financial Advising, Counseling and Educational Services (FACES), a free service temporarily located in the campus’ Career Development Center (CDC–BH 250). Counseling sessions for students are by appointment only and may be arranged by calling 877/716-2227. Certified financial counselors are provided by the Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Orange County (CCCSOC), an accredited, nonprofit organization established in 1966 with a mission to assist people in achieving financial stability through education and counseling.

“For me, one of the biggest missions is making sure the students are not dropping out of school because of financial reasons,” said Wendy Reiboldt, professor and chair of the Family and Consumer Sciences Department. “There are so many resources out there and it breaks my heart if students have to leave school for financial reasons. Whenever you are dealing with something like financial issues, people say they want it and there is a need for it, but sometimes they are embarrassed or think their problem isn’t really that severe or they don’t have time. They come up with all kinds of excuses.”

“The counseling center is not just for a person in crisis,” added Reiboldt. “You can go there and say ‘this is my first time away from home and I need a budget; I don’t know how to balance my checkbook, I don’t know how to plan expenditures,’ so it’s not just for crisis situations.”

The service, the first of its kind known in the CSU system, was spearheaded by Chris Tabellario, a CSULB 49er Shops Buyer/Manager and former student of Reiboldt’s. In addition, support was provided from Richard Haller, executive director of Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) through ASI services and consultation.

“Chris said she had this idea where she wanted to have a financial clinic on campus. I told her it could be a thesis project,” said Reiboldt. “She wanted to do something that she was interested in and really passionate about.”

“This was first thought up five years ago with a classmate who was an intern at CCCSOC at the time,” said Tabellario, noting that that classmate is now CCCSOC’s Chief Development Officer. “We were on a group project and we started talking about this idea of providing financial counseling to students on campus. She took the idea back to the Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Orange County and they said yes, they would be interested.”

A lot of Tabellario’s motivation also came from her own experience as a manager of student employees in the bookstore, where she has observed students’ financial problems first hand.

“I would be getting these phone calls from students’ creditors,” she said. “That’s when I put two and two together that not everyone knew how to manage money. They all had credit cards, but they didn’t know what it entailed. And that’s what gets students in trouble.”

Tabellario’s thesis project research found CSULB students need, want, and would utilize a financial counseling service on campus. In a survey sent to a random sample of CSULB students, 75 percent stated there was a need for financial counseling services on campus and 63 percent said they would use it if it existed. The top five topics of interest were debt management, purchasing a home, credit reports/scoring, identity theft, and creating and working with a budget.

Now available, the FACES website hosts information on various types of personal financial subjects and provides links to other informational websites.

For additional information on the program, contact Reiboldt at 562/985-8250 or Tabellario at cmtabell@csulb.edu.

–Shayne Schroeder