Personal finance 101 comes to the University of St. Thomas

November 08, 2023
Alison Martin in front of a series of wine barrels
U.S. Bank representative at a recent career event at the University of St. Thomas.

U.S. Bank and a Minnesota college embrace financial well-being, from scholarships to a dedicated goals coach

A new partnership between U.S. Bank and the University of St. Thomas, located in St. Paul, Minnesota, marks a shift in how financial services are provided to a campus community. The two organizations are coming together to lay the foundation for long-term financial wellness for students, faculty, staff and alumni.

“For many young adults, their college years are when they first begin thinking about what their financial future looks like,” said Tom Parks, the head of Consumer and Business Banking strategy at U.S. Bank. “Understanding their finances, from savings strategies to budgeting and setting goals, is vital to their ability to manage their personal finances and set them up for long-term financial success. We’re excited to be able to bring all of that directly to the Tommie community.”

The partnership between U.S. Bank and the University of St. Thomas is aimed at serving the community from a variety of perspectives – whether through scholarships or financial education and goal setting.

"Information and expertise on personal finances can help community members flourish,” said Mark Vangsgard, vice president for Business Affairs and chief financial officer at the University of St. Thomas. “By partnering with U.S. Bank, we’re providing our students with the resources they need as they begin their journey to financial well-being and giving our faculty and staff the opportunity to engage in their financial lives in a new, more holistic way.”

Coaching to goals

While the partnership touches on many aspects of the financial lives of people in higher education, what will be a very noticeable addition to campus life at St. Thomas is U.S. Bank Goals Coach Barry Saeger. Saeger, whose background is in higher education and financial wellness, will provide tools and resources to help students, faculty, staff and alumni create a personalized strategy to reach their goals.

“Having Barry interacting on campus, directly within the St. Thomas community, gives our students an added opportunity to understand the benefits of financial education,” said Tonia Peterson, the director of Retention and Student Success. “Having access to a goals coach on our campus is game-changer and is something that I wish I had access to as a college student. This a great resource for St. Thomas students!”

Saeger is on campus three days a week and offices out of the new U.S. Bank collaboration space in the Murray-Herrick Campus Center. This newly developed space is designed to provide a location where the campus community can connect with Saeger for one-on-one goals coaching sessions, take part in career events and other activities.

Laura Ronlund, who leads the Campus Alliance Program at U.S. Bank, said engaging with a U.S. Bank goals coach is a great way to take a step forward in meeting personal, professional and financial goals.

“While everyone can benefit from financial education, not everyone prioritizes it for themselves,” Ronlund said. “Having someone like Barry be a part of day-to-day life on campus, to be there for group and one-on-one coaching sessions, can really make a difference in whether someone starts working toward their goals now and maintains momentum into the future.

The partnership includes:

  • U.S. Bank goals coach residency
  • Collaboration space for goals coach and other resources
  • Annual $10,000 U.S. Bank scholarship
  • University of St. Thomas-branded Affinity debit card
  • Annual $10,000 fund provided by U.S. Bank to support innovation and entrepreneurship programs at the university as well as access to a U.S. Bank innovation team to provide guidance and expertise

Innovating for the future

Beyond financial education, the University of St. Thomas and U.S. Bank are fueling innovation through programming and support for students attending the university’s Schulze School of Entrepreneurship at the Opus College of Business.

“Each year, we’ll work together to turn our focus to spurring innovation,” said Ronlund. “As an example, last fall we held a competition for 40 Schulze scholars. They developed and presented ideas to U.S. Bank leaders on how banks could better engage with young people.”

Also last fall, U.S. Bank sponsored the Schulze School’s Fowler Business Concept Challenge, a competition open to all St. Thomas students.

“Our two organizations share in the importance of innovation at the core of what we do,” said Ronlund. “This presented an opportunity for our U.S. Bank Innovation team to collaborate with the Schulze School. This past academic year, the team served as guest speakers for Schulze School classes as well as mentors in other programming at the University of St. Thomas.”

Reimaging financial services with campus communities

Over the last twenty years, banking has changed significantly. To Ronlund, campus communities are no exception to seeing their needs evolve.

“St. Thomas and U.S. Bank see a need that we can meet together, by providing access to the financial education, information and resources that can better connect the Tommie community to their goals and help them plan for the future,” she shared.

It's a sentiment echoed by the University of St. Thomas.

“Finances are central to our lives, and education about finances is an important strategy when it comes to making financial well-being a reality for more people,” said Vangsgard with the University of St. Thomas. “Our partnership with U.S. Bank is a strategic step in our plan to assist our students, faculty, staff and alumni in prioritizing financial wellness so that they thrive for decades to come.

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