When Vassar Professor Emeritus of Economics Stephen Rousseas encouraged Amer Sajed ’83 to think differently and take action, Sajed took the advice to heart. Sajed is the senior vice president of the college portfolio at Citi Cards. With credit cards and their use and misuse a reality on college campuses these days, Sajed sought out ways to help educate young adults on the proper use of credit. “What was missing was education at the high school level since more and more college students are now getting their first cards before they enter college,” said Sajed. “So we teamed up with Scholastic to help bring awareness about credit to the high school level by creating a financial education program for 11th and 12th graders, culminating in an essay contest asking students what advice they would give Bassanio, from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, if he asked you for a loan of 3,000 ducats.” (The two winners selected received $15,000 college scholarships.)
“College students have fewer bankruptcies and defaults on loans than adults and non-student young adults,” said Sajed. Through credit education programs, students can learn financial literacy and responsibility. “It is vital that students learn responsible financial behavior early so they have a foundation from which to draw upon when making more difficult money management decisions in college and beyond,” Sajed said in a news release issued March 2004.
Professor Rousseas’ counsel wasn’t the only thing Sajed took away from Vassar. During his sophomore year, Sajed fell in love with classmate Elisabeth Livingston. They married in 1985 and have four children from ages 3 to 16. And Sajed is now putting his marketing skills to use to influence a high-schooler closer to home. Daughter Maryam is “under intense pressure from her parents to apply to Vassar where she would be the fourth generation child from her mother’s side.”