Education partners help students with financial literacy

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

At PHS, upperclassmen look like adults; however, they’ve only been alive for 18 years or fewer and their life experience is limited.

Once students graduate from high school, the real world invades in the form of college, jobs and bills. Having navigated this transition with many students, and children of my own, what high school grads do not know about practical life matters convicts me. I learn more about my instructional deficiencies from student questions than most professional development.

“That’s what I really thought,” the PHS honor grad told me. “I thought we actually paid the amounts listed under transportation, miscellaneous and everything else on the Estimated Cost of Attendance that the University listed in our bill.”

The student was completely serious. Even though we cover college costs and college bills in my classes, this student’s confusion reveals the need for a new approach.

As part of my students’ college research and exploration this fall, ēCO Credit Union Foundation has agreed to partner with me to share details about college money management with my classes.

ēCO Credit Union formed the ēCO Credit Union Foundation, which uses all funds to promote financial literacy. This foundation sponsors Keeping it Real—a freshman opportunity to create a budget based on an assigned job. This program also allows students to experience how quickly income can disappear.

This summer, Pelham hosted ēCO Credit Union Foundation as they filmed an informational video about their financial literacy education goals and good works. As their teacher-on-call, I met a young man who won a scholarship to return to school as an adult, a family who won a savings competition and the teacher who won ēCO Credit Union Foundation’s $1,500 grant to bring financial literacy to her classroom.

I also listened. I heard very earnest professionals express their desire to share financial knowledge with schools and communities. This teacher appreciates ēCO Credit Union Foundation’s efforts to prepare students for real world financial challenges and their willingness to empower our students with the knowledge to meet those challenges.

To learn more, visit ēCO Credit Union Foundation’s website: Ecocufoundation.org/.