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When students arrive in Marine City High School business education teacher Laurie Gardner’s finance classes, she said there’s a lot they don’t know.
“Kids don’t understand the process for applying for student loans,” Gardner said.
In class, she addresses issues like how to apply for loans, the differences in different types of credit cards, budgeting, taxes and more.
“I feel that no student leaves our class wondering how they’re going to use this,” Gardner said.
East China School District is hosting personal finance speaker Adam Carroll to speak to its students on Feb. 13. The event is sponsored by Next Gen Personal Finance, a nonprofit which develops free personal finance curriculum.
“I hope that students walk away from this event understanding how important the topic of personal finance is,” Gardner said.
Gardner and St. Clair High School business education teacher Amanda Volz have been using Next Gen Personal Finance in their courses for years, and plan to attend the organization’s second annual summit in San Francisco this March.
Volz said she sees similar gaps in knowledge in her students as Gardner.
“They have very little knowledge in debt and credit and student loans,” Volz said.
Next Gen Personal Finance co-founder Tim Ranzetta also identified college planning and loans to be an area of expertise where students need help. Students need to do the math about how much their education, college or otherwise, will cost once they enter the workforce and how much they will have to pay back in loans.
Basic money management ranks just behind school loans in urgency, Ranzetta said. Gardner and Volz do simulations to illustrate the rhythm of budgeting paychecks and paying rent and other bills.
Ranzetta thinks its also important to hammer home the importance of credit scores, he said.
“That, in effect, is your permanent record when it comes to finances,” Ranzetta said.
Ranzetta said he hoped the Carroll talk will help students understand some of these topics better, and it’s important to have financial traps explained in an engaging way.
Volz said it’s important for personal finance to be taught in a way that is relevant with students.
“You are the one who has to kick start your finances,” she said.
Contact education reporter Jeremy Ervin at (810) 989-6276 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @ErvinJeremy.
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