A Yuba City High School graduate will be on NBC’s “Today” show Friday morning to help incoming college students deal with debt.
Justin Fiske, 22, took part in an Aug. 13 panel with five other college students. Each spoke about their experiences with financial aid, credit cards and work.
Fiske said he was the only member of the panel who wasn’t in debt because he started working right away. The senior art major at Columbia University started on a scholarship, but began working 30 to 40 hours each week to pay for his education and needs.
Rather than relying on credit cards and loans, students need to start earning an income by working, even if it’s just a few hours a week of work study on campus, Fiske said.
“They get a credit card, and they spend like crazy,” he said. “Now they can see how much work they’re spending on something.”
The actual discussion took almost an hour and a half, but the segment will be about 10 to 15 minutes during the 8 a.m. hour of Friday’s show.
Fiske was invited by a friend who is an intern with the “Today” show, but he almost didn’t get the message.
“I got an e-mail and I thought it was spam and almost didn’t open it,” he said.
The discussion was led by “Today” co-host Meredith Vieira, who has a son getting ready to go to Stanford University this fall.
Fiske said Vieira was very warm and genuine.
“She wasn’t one of those people where you think they’re not really a person,” he said. “She was very concerned and down to earth.”
Fiske is majoring in art history and just wrapped up a summer internship at Sotheby’s. In high school, he excelled in track and cross country, where he became the first Yuba City runner to qualify for the state meet.