U-Mary Human Services Institute Confronts Financial Literacy


Feb.15, 2010

Bismarck, ND - Being thousands of dollars in debt without a way out can destroy people's credit and dreams for many years. Some become financially strapped as early as high school or college as they are bombarded with credit card offers or default on student loans. Others mismanage their money without a budget or just make bad financial decisions.

University of Mary's 2010 Human Services Institute tackles those issues and various financial topics with guest speakers and roundtable discussions on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010.

Carlee McLeod, North Dakota Deputy State Treasurer, will kick off the event at
9 a.m. in Heskett Hall in the Clairmont Center for the Performing Arts speaking on, "The Cost of Being Financially Illiterate" and detailing the emotional and physical effects it may have on someone's life.

Roundtable discussions will break out at 9:30 a.m. in Chick's Place. "Digging out from Debt," featuring Wally Erhardt, associate director of Student Loans at the Bank of North Dakota (BND) and Bernie Harsche, financial counselor at Bismarck's Village Family Services; "Credit Sense-Credit Cards, Credit History and Identity Theft," with Melissa Yackley, financial services officer at Capital Credit Union and Jamie Christensen, communications and marketing coordinator at BND; and "Budgeting and Planning Your Financial Future," with Lori Yarbrough, financial services officer at Capital Credit Union and Amy Jo Johnson, education coordinator for Mid-America Credit Union Association.

Erhardt will cap the day's events at 11 a.m. with the keynote presentation entitled "Life after College: Dealing with Student Loan Debt." Erhardt will address student loans, the different options for repaying them and other beneficial information.

The events are free and open to the public. Students from Bismarck State College, United Tribes Technical College (UTTC) and Rasmussen College are encouraged to attend.

Media interested in attending should contact Tom Ackerman at (701) 355-8002.

Wally Erhardt

Wally Erhardt began his career with Bank of North Dakota in Internal Audit Services, 21 years ago. After six years in that area, he moved to Student Loans of North Dakota (SLND) where he is currently the associate director.

SLND is a student loan guaranty agency that guarantees federal student loans for a number of banks and the alternative loan program (DEAL) made exclusively through Bank of North Dakota. Besides guaranteeing loans, SLND assists lenders with default aversion assistance, collects on defaulted loans for the Department of Education, and provides college information services and financial literacy education to our students on a statewide basis.

Erhardt is a member of many state and national financial aid organizations and a charter member of the North Dakota Jump$tart Coalition, where he serves as their vice president and program and events coordinator. In 2009, Erhardt received the North Dakota Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators President's Award, in recognition of his dedication and commitment to students and the financial aid profession.

Graduating from the University of Mary in the 70s, Erhardt and his wife have three grown daughters, including a set of twins.