COLUMBIA — University of South Carolina senior Alysia Malpass understands student finances.
The international business and marketing student worked 65 hours per week between two jobs this summer to help put herself through college.
“I understand from a student perspective things are difficult financially,” said Malpass, who is one of dozens of students staffing a new Carolina Collegiate Federal Credit Union Branch in the Russell House.
The branch, which opened this summer but held its grand opening Wednesday, provides students with hands-on financial experience and peer-to-peer education, said Helen Powell, vice president of human resources and business development for the credit union.
Student workers perform financial services such as opening accounts, taking loan applications and issuing debit cards, said Anne Shivers, Carolina Collegiate’s president and CEO.
“Students will listen more to students about financial matters,” Shivers said.
Trevon Hansen, a freshman who recently opened a checking account and stopped by Russell House location Wednesday to pick up his debit card, said he found the student workers to be more personable and better able to understand his financial situations.
The student union branch operates 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday with varying Saturday hours.
“It’s nice having a credit union this close, this accessible,” Hansen said.
About 20 undergraduate employees will staff the location but that amount may vary depending on students’ schedules, Powell said. Student workers earn $9.50 per hour starting out and will have the opportunity to receive raises depending on performance or if they move up to higher positions, Powell said.
In addition, 10 graduate students are completing half of their 20-hour assistantships there.
In addition to the students, a trained financial representative from USC’s Student Success Center will be in the credit union’s Russell House office to answer questions and refer students for more in-depth appointments if necessary.
Carolina Collegiate models the new branch after a student-run program at Georgetown University Alumni and Student Federal Credit Union, which has 29 years under its belt, Powell said
“It offers a great opportunity to give back to the university and an opportunity to provide students with a unique learning situation,” said Pam Cope, chair of the credit union’s board of directors.