Financial Conduct Authority
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Universities call in the FSA Money Doctors as research shows a third of students are constantly overdrawn

As the new university term begins, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) has set its sights on introducing its Money Doctors financial education programme to 50 more universities this year as research shows that young people are least able to manage their finances among UK adults.

The FSA’s Money Doctors project helps students in higher education become financially competent encouraging them to confront debt and to take control of their own finances before they get into difficulties. So far, the FSA has helped train 100 student money advisers at 50 universities across the UK and hopes to double that number in 2008/09.

The importance of the project – which is delivered through student money advisors at higher education institutions across the UK – has been underlined by FSA research which shows:

  • One-in-three students are constantly overdrawn;
  • Two-in-five students admit to being completely disorganised about their money; and
  • One-in-three never check their bank statements or, if they do, they only check the final balance.

Chris Pond, FSA Director of Financial Capability, said:

“The FSA’s Money Doctors programme is a new approach to financial education and seeks to address some of the causes of student financial problems. Our research shows that young people are least able to manage their finances and this is why much of our work targets this group.

“We have found that Money Doctors has had a positive effect on the 90,000 students we have already reached through our work and in most cases they have learned to manage their money better.

“Our Money Doctors work is part of the National Strategy for Financial Capability which aims to find ways to improve the nation’s financial capability and understanding of money matters.”

In 2005, the FSA started the project at Roehampton University to develop new and proactive approaches to engage students to take control of their own finances before they faced difficulties, and to confront debt problems. The project produced a toolkit with an educational resource and a practical guide to setting up the Money Doctors programme. The toolkit also included sample business cases for universities, highlighting the benefits for widening participation, retention and employability.

By 2011, the FSA aims to make all 168 UK higher education institutions aware of, and use, the Money Doctors toolkits and training available and proactively provide their students with information, education and guidance about their personal finances.

Notes for editors

  1. The FSA has developed the Higher Education Financial Capability programme as part of the National Strategy for Financial Capability which aims to find ways to improve the nation’s financial capability and understanding of personal finance.
  2. Financial Capability means:

    - being able to manage money;
    - keeping track of finances;
    - planning ahead;
    - making informed decisions about financial products; and
    - staying up to date about financial matters.
  3. The FSA continues to roll-out its 'Delivering Change' strategy, a five-year programme to improve the financial capability of UK consumers, which it is now half-way through. The programme targets: school children, young adults who are Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET), students in universities and Further Education (FE), employees in their workplace and new parents.
  4. The FSA also delivers straightforward information through its Moneymadeclear consumer website and publications, and reach a wide range of consumers via our work with non-profit organisations. To date, the FSA has reached almost four million people against its overall target of 10 million people by 2011 and remains on track.
  5. The FSA regulates the financial services industry and has four objectives under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000: maintaining market confidence; promoting public understanding of the financial system; securing the appropriate degree of protection for consumers; and fighting financial crime.
  6. The FSA aims to promote efficient, orderly and fair markets, help retail consumers achieve a fair deal and improve its business capability and effectiveness.

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