WEST ALLIS (WITI) -- Many young adults go off to college without a full understanding of money and financial responsibility.
“That number would be shocking, of our young people in our state as well as across the country, who really don’t understand personal finance,” said Georgia Maxwell, the Assistant Deputy Secretary with the State of Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.
Nathan Hale High School in West Allis is looking to change that, and they're starting early. The school incorporated a financial literacy course into all the freshman social studies classes. The course is Layton State Bank Financial Scholars Program, and partners with EverFi, Inc. for the curriculum.
“It just starts that conversation,” explained Nathan Hale Principal Matt Lesar, “then they have four years to ask the questions and get comfortable, and then like I said they go back to the family and have those deeper conversations.”
On Thursday they celebrated the students finishing that course with a small ceremony. This is the first year for the program. Students learned about budgeting for college, the difference between a debit card and a credit card, renting a home versus buying one, even investing in the stock market.
“It’s almost like the ‘ah ha’ moment or light bulb clicking of wow, this isn’t free money. Or this is a personal responsibility issue, or oh wow these costs of these types of scenarios are staggering -- costs like gas, or insurance or daycare, things like that they don’t really think about. And through the exposure of these programs they see it, they connect, and I think they get it,” said Maxwell.
“It’s been very exciting to actually give them something they can take with themselves for life, as a life learning tool,” said Gary Szpara, Senior Vice President for Layton State Bank.
The program is part of a private-public partnership with Layton State Bank, so it doesn't cost the school anything. The principal says he hopes to do this again for next year's freshman class.