This project has not been fully updated yet. Please feel free to reach out to me for more information. :)


This is a project where Discover Financial Services® and Design for America (DFA) collaborate in order to support young adults in becoming more financially empowered and equipped as they develop, explore, and share their future goals.


Team: DFA @ UCSD

Date: January 2022 - May 2022

Role: Co-Lead UX Designer and Researcher

Collaborators: Vicky Chou (Co-Lead), Deyshna Pai, Frances Sy, Frankie Son, and Kayla Luong

Focus: UX Research and Design

Tools: Figma


In a 2017 report conducted by the Center for Financial Literacy at Champlain College, California was given an ‘F’ in financial literacy instruction. Although some California schools provide instruction on personal finance, it is not considered as a graduation requirement–this contrasts from the personal finance graduation requirements in ‘A’ states.

And, according to the World Population Review, minority groups in San Diego are more likely to be in poverty than the white population, in spite of minority groups encompassing only 34.9% of the San Diego population.

As the San Diego population becomes more diverse – latest data showing an increase in Hispanic population by 12.9% and Asian population by 22% – it becomes increasingly dire to focus on minority students from low-income households: they are most affected by the lack of financial literacy education and are consequently less likely to attend schools with sufficient funding to offer financial literacy courses.


For the majority of UCSD students, access to higher education is dependent on financial aid.

• According to UCSD’s 2020-2021 Undergrad Student Report, 72% of undergrads receive some sort of financial assistance.

UCSD is an ethnically diverse neighborhood with first-generation college students representing 38-40% of the student population.

• According to San Diego demographics, UCSD stands out as a minority bubble within the largely Caucasian-dominated La Jolla region.


Based on the statistics of Financial Education Program at UCSD, the university shows interest in promoting financial literacy within its student body.

However, from our student survey of 63 responses, we found that...


of surveyed UCSD students report they do NOT budget their expenses


of UCSD students are NOT aware of UCSD’s financial resources


of surveyed UCSD students have NEVER reached out to the University for financial resources (e.g. Student Financial Services)

Additionally, in terms of emotions, we found that...


of UCSD students feel negative when they think about finances while only...


of UCSD students feel positive emotions


So far, we have had 14 interviews with UCSD students. asking different topics including:

1. Life experience with finance

2. Financial knowledge

3. UCSD Financial Support/Resources

4. Reflection

"In terms of budgeting, I only mentally gauge how much I've spent for the week and determine whether I think I've spent more than I think I should for food because if so, I'd prevent eating out."

VC, 3rd year

"I am a saver in general, but I have a lot of concerns and anxieties because I am always afraid of unexpected events."

TT, 4th year

"I could be slightly more cautious about where I'm putting my money towards. Sometimes I make impulsive purchases and realize later on that it wasn't needed."

TM, 2nd year

"I would like to learn about small business and side investments. I would learn from online resources. But, the thing is there are so many sources that I really don't know if they are credible enough, or if I select the right one, or if I spend too much time on find the right sources to learn."

TT, 4th year

"Stocks, crypto, how to file taxes when it comes to internships (federal tax vs. state tax). I would learn about these topics visually through youtube videos or by someone explaining them to me in person. Would love to take a class on these topics."

TM, 2nd year

Interview Insights

• People struggle understanding what finance is and lacked the awareness of how it’s embedded in their daily lives.

• Most of our interviewees mentally budget their expenses, with alternatives including excel, and budgeting app.

• Investment and stock market seem to be areas that our interviewees would like to learn more about.

• People do not have much awareness on financial resources at UCSD.





• Insufficient remaining balance

• Not being aware of financial services on campus

• Worrying about financial situations and future expenses

• Not achieving where they want to be


• More knowledge

• More investments

• Achieve future goals

• Fulfillment with money

Note: Financial milestones and urgency/pressure from current conditions also motivate young adults' behaviors.


Organize financial categories in simple terms

Prioritize resources based on individual needs and circumstances

Accompany young adults on their journey to financial independence


Efficiently navigate information needed

Personalized individual needs and circumstances are prioritized with the resources

• Increased awareness of financial knowledge before getting into society independently

• Young adults have positive feelings towards financial management


How can we help students find a way to learn more about finance in order to achieve fulfillment in their life?

How can we provide financial information in an accessible and digestible way using simple terms?


We brainstormed about 40 ideas and sorted them into different categories including:

1. Workshop/Events

2. Outreach/Community

3. Social Media

4. Learning

5. Resources

6. Other Platforms

7. Features


We also drew sketches to generate our ideas.

This project has not been fully updated yet. Please feel free to reach out to me for more information. :)

Thank you for reading! There are other projects that you might want to explore and read, and you can access one of them below. :)