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Work in Progress: Do Engineering Students Gain Financial Literacy Skills by Taking an Engineering Economy Course?

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Engineering Economy Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Engineering Economy

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Aimee T. Ulstad Ohio State University Orcid 16x16

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Aimee Ulstad, P.E is an Associate Professor of Practice in the Integrated Systems Engineering Department at The Ohio State University. Prior to joining the faculty at Ohio State, Aimee was an industry professional in various field in engineering for over 30 years. Aimee received her degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Masters in Business Administration from Ohio State. She began her career as a packaging equipment engineer at Procter and Gamble, then moved to Anheuser-Busch where she worked for over 27 years. She worked as project manager, engineering manager, utility manager, maintenance manager, and finally as the Resident Engineer managing all technical areas of the facility. During her tenure, the brewery saw dramatic increases in productivity improvement, increased use of automation systems, and significant cost reductions in all areas including utilities where they received the internal award for having the best utility usage reduction for 2014. Since joining Ohio State, Aimee has joined the American Society of Engineering Educators and serves as the Division Chair of the Engineering Economics division.

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Mehdi Mashayekhi Ohio State University

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Hannah Meckstroth Ohio State University

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Annamaria Lusardi has spent decades studying the financial literacy of different populations across the globe through research at George Washington University’s Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center. Thousands of people in various countries have answered her 3-question basic survey to gauge their understanding of financial principles. Further, FINRA, the non-profit regulatory body that facilities the enforcement of financial management practices, has expanded Lusardi’s 3-question survey to a 6-question survey that evaluates individuals’ knowledge of finance and investing concepts.

Engineering Economy is taught in most every university across the country because it is a core subject related to the ABET Criteria and FE exam. At a large Midwest university, the class is taught in a ½ semester session for 2 credit hours with a student population of 400+. Many examples used in class and homework problems relate to personal finance because it is a way of helping students understand and internalize concepts such as time value of money. Some of the examples used include personal investment methods, as simple as the interest rate your bank pays, to determine savings required for retirement, and using Excel to calculate your payment on a loan.

The questions being researched through this project are: 1) How financially astute are students taking Engineering Economy at this institution as compared to other populations that have been widely studied? 2) Does taking the Engineering Economy course improve their financial literacy? 3) How well prepared do engineering students think they are to face their financial futures?

Purpose (Hypothesis)

The main purpose of this research is to determine if engineering students improve their financial literacy after taking this 7-week Engineering Economy course, which only focuses on financial literacy from a cursory standpoint.


FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) and George Washington’s Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center have been surveying various populations on their financial literacy for over a decade and publishing results that are well documented and easily accessible. The basis of this research is the 6-question FINRA survey which includes the 3-question base financial literacy survey (GFLEC) used all over the globe. By using an existing instrument, it is possible to compare the students in this population to those of other populations. Further, by doing pre-term and post-course surveys, it is possible to evaluate the effect of the Engineering Economy course on the students’ knowledge.


At this time, the Engineering Economy course and post-course survey have not been completed. The pre-course survey has been administered, but the results have not been evaluated.


This course and survey have not been completed at this time.

Ulstad, A. T., & Mashayekhi, M., & Meckstroth, H. (2018, June), Work in Progress: Do Engineering Students Gain Financial Literacy Skills by Taking an Engineering Economy Course? Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31284

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