An organization called LendEDU has released its list of top-ranking financial literacy programs among colleges and universities across the country, and the University of Montana is listed as No. 5 overall.

UM Vice President for Communications Paula Short said the program has been ranked in the top five nationwide for the past three years.

“Our students are required to take the Financial Literacy Program upon admission to the university,” said Short. “The program at UM is called Transit and it’s designed to prepare students for fiscal responsibility, both as they’re getting their college education as well as beyond. It’s an online course and they learn such things has how not to default on their student loans, how savings accounts and banking works and how to interpret your credit score.”

Short said many students come to Missoula already equipped to handle their own finances, but others do not, and to university officials the risk that students may have to drop out of school before they receive their degree has helped to initiate the financial literacy program.

“There’s nothing wrong with accumulating debt when you are paying for your education, but doing so in a way that is sustainable and viable, and something that you can pay back with the career that you’ll get after graduation,” she said. “We want students to make really informed decisions about their financial health as well as their credit score and other things that will directly affect their future.”

The financial education services are available to current students, alumni and employees of UM, Missoula College, Bitterroot College and UM-affiliate campuses.