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Book Helps New College Graduates Handle Money, Student Loan Debt

A new book helps recent college graduates avoid the financial mistakes many adults make.

Greenville, NC, April 13, 2011 --( Today's average full-time undergraduate student borrows more than $8,000 each year, adding up to almost $24,000 in student loan debt by the time he or she graduates, according to Bill Pratt, an East Carolina University teaching instructor and author of "The Graduate’s Guide to Life and Money." The book, available starting today, is now in its second edition.

“Students overestimate their after-graduation starting salaries by as much as 40 percent, and they don’t understand that they get to keep only about 65 to 70 percent of their pay checks after all of the deductions,” Pratt explained. “Most graduates are about to experience a real shock when it comes to monthly expenses and spending money. Plus, there are plenty of people just waiting to take advantage of their lack of financial knowledge.”

Pratt began writing financial advice after graduating from college to help prevent others from making the same money mistakes he had. A former economist for the U.S. federal government and a former vice president for Citigroup, he left the financial industry in 2007 to focus full-time on helping students understand money.

Pratt currently teaches personal and corporate finance in the College of Business at ECU, and he serves as assistant director of ECU’s Financial Wellness Institute, an outreach unit that helps individuals better understand their personal finances. He has authored numerous books on personal finance, including "Extra Credit: The 7 Things Every College Student Needs to Know About Credit, Debt & Ca$h," also in its second edition, and the soon-to-be-released "Life Skills for Student Success: Achieving Financial Literacy," which he co-authored with colleagues at the Financial Wellness Institute.

“We are failing our students if we do not teach them the fundamentals of personal finance, while sending them out on their own with lots of student loan debt into a money-oriented society,” Pratt said. “My goal is to bring a fun message to graduates to help them avoid the financial mistakes most adults make."

About the Financial Wellness Institute
The Financial Wellness Institute at East Carolina University is an outreach unit that helps individuals better understand the complexities of their personal finances, providing skills to help assess financial situations and successfully plan for the future. The FWI is available for seminars, articles, consultations, and other outreach activities. Learn more online at

About the College of Business at East Carolina University
The College of Business at East Carolina University was founded in 1936 and has been continuously accredited by the AACSB since 1967. Located in Greenville, N.C., the college continues to grow substantially and now has more than 3,100 undergraduate students, 870 graduate students, 135 faculty members, as well as 30 degrees, majors, and concentrations. The College offers a course in personal finance taken by more than 1,000 students each academic year.

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East Carolina University
Jennifer Brezina

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