Thousands of students graduate each year from Sam Houston State University with loans and debt, but the university’s OneCard Office is putting together a seminar to teach students some financial lessons not taught in the classroom.

The Financial Management and Identity Theft Seminar will be held today from 5 to 6 p.m. in the Lowman Student Center Theatre. It will feature Bearkat OneCard director Kristy Vienne and Martina Kalu, who works at the First National Bank of Huntsville, leading a discussion on the importance of protecting not only student finances, but also identity.

With the increased popularity of personal profile Web sites like facebook.com and myspace.com, Vienne said students sometimes put too much information online, which can be dangerous.

“Especially with facebook and some of the things out there, so many people put so much of their personal information out there, that they really make themselves susceptible to identity theft,” Vienne said. “I may have gained some of your personal information from the mail, but if I also look on facebook and you’ve put where you work and how long you’ve worked there, when I fill out a credit card application in your name, it makes it a lot easier for me to do that, because I know a lot about you.”

The discussion will be a basic overview of financial management skills, to help students get a better understanding of things like different types of bank accounts and how to monitor credit.

“We have a lot of students, not just at Sam but in general, that do not understand checking accounts, credit, credit card debt and things like that,” Vienne said. “They can sometimes overextend themselves, so even when they graduate college, they have lots of financial debt already. We just try and talk about the things that they can do to try and not get themselves into that situation.”

The student organization with the most participation Tuesday will receive a $250 prize, pending attendance and membership verification, and one student will win an iPod in a door prize drawing. The winning organization will be announced Wednesday.

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