ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Thousands of North Texans are painfully familiar with the issue of student loan debt. Now, students drowning in debt at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) are getting some extra attention.

The school has hired its first Director of Student Financial Literacy. Shakeela Hunter says often students have no idea what it takes to finance a college education.

“It’s not until they see that first tuition bill that they realize that they can’t afford to pay their tuition and fees, and their housing, and they don’t know how to go on,” she said.

Hunter says part of her role, as Director is to help students understand how to budget.

“Just to get them more educated about their student expenses, their college expenses, and helping them budget so that they can graduate with little or no debt.”

Often parents don’t teach their kids how to budget and the students wind up in financial trouble – but Hunter says that’s where she comes in.

“We’ll sit down, one-on-one, to have the students create their own budget and help them to budget their income and their expenses,” she said.

Locally and nationally, financial issues are one of the main reasons many students drop out of college.

UTA will also offer financial forums to help students learn how to deal with their current financial responsibility and plan for their future finances.

“With the changes in the economy and with tuition rates going up, I think it’s very vital that students get more educated on their finances and how to budget, while they’re in college,” Hunter said.

The university also plans to offer financial forums for students.

Administrators say Hunter will work as one of the heads at UTA’s new Student Money Management Center.

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