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Mark Land
Associate vice president, IU Communications

Last modified: Thursday, July 26, 2012

Indiana University names leaders for student financial literacy program

July 26, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A veteran university administrator and a recent Kelley School of Business MBA graduate have been appointed to lead Indiana University's student financial literacy initiative, reporting to IU Treasurer MaryFrances McCourt.

Jack Tharp will serve as senior director of financial literacy; he is currently vice chancellor for student affairs at IU Kokomo. Phil Schuman is director of financial literacy; until taking the new position, he was a staff member in the Office of the Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

IU officials announced in June that the university was establishing a comprehensive program to give students the tools needed to complete college without excessive debt. The program will include a dedicated website, mandatory educational modules, workshops and individual advising and counseling.

"Studies have found that the No. 1 reason that students leave college without graduating is financial stress," said McCourt, who led the effort to establish the financial literacy initiative. "We will address this issue by developing programs to positively impact students' academic success while taking steps to secure their long-term financial health."

Schuman began work on the initiative this month, and Tharp will transition to his new position in mid-August. Both will have offices at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in order to provide easier access to IU's campuses around the state.

"Jack has served our campus for over three decades. We are indebted to him for his service and deeply saddened to see him go," IU Kokomo Chancellor Michael Harris said. "However, we are pleased that he has been chosen to lead this initiative to benefit students at all IU campuses."

According to widely cited research, students report that debt and financial problems are the leading reasons for failing to complete their degrees, followed by poor academic performance and poor social fit. Student loans recently topped $1 trillion and have surpassed credit cards as the largest source of unsecured consumer debt, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

Tharp has been vice chancellor of student affairs and enrollment management at IU Kokomo since 1984 and has worked in higher education for 35 years. As supervisor of the largest administrative department on the campus, he has been responsible for student affairs, student recruitment and marketing, financial aid, orientation, campus public relations and fundraising.

For the past 15 years, Tharp has represented IU regional campuses on university-wide committees, developing extensive contacts with officials at other IU campuses and Ivy Tech Community College. He has a bachelor's degree in political science from Hanover College and a master's in public administration and a doctorate in higher education from IU.

Schuman graduated from DePauw University in 2006. He worked in marketing and other fields before completing an MBA from IU through the Kelley Direct online program in 2011. He led focus groups of students at different campuses to provide information used in designing the financial literacy initiative.

He learned from the experience that there's a serious need for such a program and students are eager for more information. "Students don't know what they don't know," he said. "They don't know what questions to ask."

The IU financial literacy task force included McCourt, Tharp and Schuman along with Ken Carow, associate dean for research and programs, IUPUI; Rachel Delbridge, financial aid counselor, IU Southeast; Roy Durnal, director of the Student Services Center at IU Bloomington; Jim Kennedy, director of university financial aid; Sarah Soper, director of financial aid and scholarships, IU East; and Kurt Zorn, associate vice provost, IU Bloomington.