Amid the free food, activities and prizes of Orientation Week, some freshmen took the time to learn about financial challenges they could face in the next four years.

The Undergraduate Financial Aid Office held financial literacy sessions Saturday in response to the federal Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009. The two afternoon sessions included information, advice and demonstrative skits to teach freshmen about budgeting, building credit and avoiding debt.

Freshman Marina Goll, who attended the second session, said she appreciated the information.

Amid the free food, activities and prizes of Orientation Week, some freshmen took the time to learn about financial challenges they could face in the next four years.

The Undergraduate Financial Aid Office held financial literacy sessions Saturday in response to the federal Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009. The two afternoon sessions included information, advice and demonstrative skits to teach freshmen about budgeting, building credit and avoiding debt.

Freshman Marina Goll, who attended the second session, said she appreciated the information.

“I’m 18, it’s time for me to learn how to be financially responsible. I don’t want to graduate with a bunch of debt,” Goll said. “I think [my parents] will be more willing to help if I do my part and if I’m conscious of how much I’m spending.”

The sessions, held by Assistant Director of Financial Aid Jill Cordell and Financial Aid Officer Ryan Sparrow, taught students about budgeting as well as credit. Sparrow, who spoke mainly about budgeting, suggested that students discuss their budgets with their families, participate in research experiments for extra cash and keep track of their expenses each month.

Financial literacy is discussed with students receiving financial aid at the University’s mandatory financial aid orientation sessions, but the financial aid staff decided to offer sessions to all students for the first time this year, Cordell said. The Orientation Welcome Week Advisory Committee decided in March to offer the 50-minute sessions partly in response to the CARD act, which took effect in February. The legislation, intended to protect college-aged credit card users from inadvertent debt and aggressive credit card company marketing practices, recommends that universities offer a financial education session to new students.

Although the mandatory financial aid session packed Page Auditorium, only about 20 freshmen attended each of the two financial literacy sessions on East Campus, many of whom had also been to the mandatory aid seminar. Sparrow and Cordell said that one reason the turnout was low was that both sessions ran during the question and answer session with Ron Currie, Jr., author of the summer reading book “Everything Matters.”

Still, Sparrow and Cordell reminded the students who attended that by being aware and responsible with their budgeting, they had an advantage over other students regardless of actual wealth.

Cordell encouraged students to avoid building credit until they know how to be financially responsible and how to ask themselves if something is a necessity or simply an impulse buy. She also told students that if and when they decide to start building credit, they should get an annual credit report, but to avoid over-advertised credit report agencies.

“Freecreditreport.com will take your information and charge you if you’re not vigilant about canceling it immediately,” Cordell said.

Sparrow said that when he was a freshman at Duke in 2003, banks had tables set up in the basement of the Bryan Center offering students free T-shirts for taking out credit cards, which the new legislation prohibits. The CARD act also requires individuals under age 21 to have a cosigner or sufficient income in order to get a credit card.

The CARD act also attempts to protect students by instituting more requirements and limitations regarding bank statements and overdraft fees. Some additional provisions of the CARD act took effect Aug. 22, requiring banks to be clearer in their statements and prohibit them from charging overdraft fees larger than the amount overdrafted, capping them at $25.