Financial literacy’s importance to daily life cannot be stressed enough. If you understand how to balance your budget, set aside savings for the future, and develop a strong financial vocabulary, you will be a more successful consumer. High school is a particularly critical time for encouraging and improving banking smarts. Teens are just starting their first jobs and earning their own money. They are rapidly approaching the period of life when they begin making big financial decisions, like going to college or buying a car.
Credit Unions Put Their Members First
At NerdWallet, we think you’re never too young to understand basic financial concepts, and we love it when credit unions provide financial education resources to their customers. Many credit unions promote financial literacy for students, through programs like in-school bank branches, financial workshops and seminars, classroom presentations and online programs. We’ve put together a list of the best financial education resources for high school students at credit unions across the country. Stop by the one nearest you to learn more about these great programs.
Youth Financial Workshops - HarborLight Credit Union (Whitehall, MI)
HarborLight Credit Union makes the financial education of young people in their community a high priority. The credit union offers free and fun youth financial workshops once a year that help teach credit responsibility and money management. HarborLight also has a student-run branch program at local high schools, and offers classroom presentations on financial literacy and scholarships for students. The credit union’s Youth Advisory Board, made up of high school and college volunteers, offers critical advice to the credit union about its younger members. HarborLight Credit Union is located in Whitehall, Michigan. Membership eligibility information can be found here.
Classroom Presentations – TruMark Financial Credit Union (Trevose, PA)
TruMark Financial Credit Union is committed to improving the financial literacy of students in their community. The credit union has partnered with local high schools to provide classroom presentations on topics ranging from banking, credit, loans, identity theft and investing, to résumé writing and the difference between jobs and careers. These presentations are designed to help students become bank-smart and knowledgeable in a range of economic subjects. TruMark Financial Credit Union has 14 branches in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Membership details can be found here.
Mad City Money – Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union (Tampa, FL)
Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union has several financial literacy initiatives directed at students. The Mad City Money program gives students simulated careers, salaries and obligations, and allows them to determine where their money should go. Mad City Money provides a close approximation to the difficult financial decisions people make everyday. They also have a school branch program that helps students learn gain experience with financial concepts, and offer youth presentations that teach financial skills from budgeting to establishing credit. Suncoast School Federal Credit Union has branches in 33 Florida communities. Membership eligibility information can be found here.
FoolProof for High Schools – TTCU The Credit Union (Tulsa, OK)
TTCU offers the FoolProof for High Schools program, a free online program that helps students at Oklahoma schools meet the requirements of the Passport to Financial Literacy Act. The program provides instruction and advice that will help students become masters of personal finance. Through web-driven, interactive content that features audio and video clips, students can have fun while learning valuable banking skills. TTCU has branches in Tulsa, Tahlequah, Jenks, Owasso, Broken Arrow, Bixby, Muskogee and Claremore, Oklahoma. Membership information can be found here.
Financial Literacy Presentations – Empower Federal Credit Union (Syracuse, NY)
For their work in financial literacy, Empower Federal Credit Union has received the REAL DEAL designation from the American Association of Credit Union Leagues and the Credit Union Association of New York. Empower’s wide variety of programs includes in-classroom presentations, in-school banking programs, and the NEFE High School Financial Planning Program. Each program is designed to improve students’ financial awareness and help put them on the path to a successful future in personal banking. Empower Federal Credit Union has 19 branches in Northern New York. Membership eligibility information can be found here.
Junior Board of Directors – DATCU (Denton, TX)
DATCU is fervently dedicated to improving the financial education of students. Through partnerships with local schools, they provide funding for classroom education. DATCU recently selected several local high school seniors to be part of their Junior Board of Directors. These students participate in meetings and receive first-hand experience in financial matters. Each member receives a $250 scholarship to be used for college expenses. DATCU has branches in Aubrey, Decatur, Denton Flower Mound, Lewisville, The Colony and Trophy Club, Texas. Membership is available to anyone living or working in Denton, Cooke, Wise, Montague, or Clay counties, or the City of Coppell, Texas.
Student-Run Branch – Postal Credit Union (Woodbury, MN)
In January, Postal Credit Union started a business educational partnership with Tartan High School to open their first student-run branch. The branch provides students with hands-on experience and increases their financial knowledge, while also helping them learn specific finance skills. All students are able to open accounts and develop valuable money management and budgeting abilities. Postal Credit Union has branches in Eagan, Hugo, North and West Saint Paul, and Woodbury, Minnesota. Membership is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers or goes to school in Anoka, Chisago, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey or Washington counties, Minnesota.
After-School Workshops – Credit Union of Southern California (Whittier, CA)
Credit Union of Southern California has promoted financial literacy in their community for a long time. For years, they have held workshops on financial topics in local schools and businesses. In May 2012, the credit union held an after-school workshop at El Rancho High School in Pico Rivera. The workshop provided students with information to better understand the difference between banks and credit unions, the importance of saving and setting financial goals, as well as the importance of good credit. In addition, tips were provided to students about how to establish credit. The students were encouraged to open an account with CU SoCal and were given a bonus deposit upon account opening. Credit Union of Southern California has 10 branches in Southern California. Membership is available to those who live, work, worship or attend school in the San Gabriel Valley, Orange County, the cities of Chino, Chino Hills and San Bernardino, and cities in between.
Classroom Presentations – Arapahoe Credit Union (Centennial, CO)
Arapahoe Credit Union has an award winning financial literacy program. Part of the credit union’s philosophy is that members with strong financial skills and personal responsibility become more successful consumers. Through classroom presentations, the credit union instructors cover topics like tracking your checking account, budgeting, identity theft, credit and online banking. Arapahoe Credit Union has branches in Centennial and Englewood, Colorado. Membership is open to anyone in Arapahoe County, Colorado.
Student-Run Branch – New Generations Federal Credit Union (Richmond, VA)
New Generations Federal Credit Union began a student-run branch program in 2011. Through a partnership with Richmond public schools, the credit union offers students the chance to receive hands-on training in financial concepts that will help them meet finance and economics requirements for graduation. The program is a great way to provide young people with the financial education they need to be good students and successful adults. New Generations Federal Credit Union is located in Richmond, Virginia. Membership is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers or goes to school in Richmond.
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