LEAD and the CFL

The Center for Financial Literacy is a perfect fit with Champlain College's LEAD program, providing college students with a four-year series of programs and experiences designed to develop practical skills that will be useful throughout their lives. The life-skills components of a Champlain College education include community service, developing personal and professional relationships, financial literacy training and career management.

The teaching of personal finance is often an afterthought in schools because it is not a subject tested under the No Child Left Behind law.

Most high school and middle school students in Vermont are not financially literate and are rarely being taught key personal finance topics in the classroom. Few Vermont colleges —public or private—offer a personal finance elective and it is rare that a college requires personal finance course as a core requirement.

"For too many college students across the country, the only financial counseling they receive is at the exit interview before they graduate reminding them to repay their loans. We believe these programs will help address those issues in a proactive and productive way," according to former Champlain President David F. Finney. "We hope the work of the Center for Financial Literacy at Champlain College will help change all that."


The New York Times "Your Money" columnist Ron Lieber visited Champlain College in early December 2010 to learn about the College's Life Experience and Action Dimension (LEAD) financial sophistication courses for students. The resulting article appeared Jan. 8, 2011 on the front page of the NYT's Money section, prompting inquiries about the program from across the country. It was the number one emailed story on the NYT website the day it first appeared, and had been reprinted in numerous newspapers. Read it yourself at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/08/your-money/08money.html


  • For one in three college students, debt makes it difficult to concentrate on their studies; this either delays their graduation or requires them to put forth greater effort to complete their degree.
  • For one in four college students, debt leads to either physical or mental health problems.
  • For one in six college students, debt leads to taking fewer credit hours per semester.
  • For one in 20 college students, debt leads to dropping out of school for at least one semester.