College Connect wrapped up the month of February with two successful GLOW meetings, addressing important financial literacy and college financial planning curriculum. On February 20th, our seniors spent three hours reviewing strategies for maximizing federal aid. Students learned the facts of the different grant programs available (Pell, Cal, etc.), work study, and how to understand loans. They also reviewed the distinctions between the FAFSA and Dream Act applications where they learned that Dream Act applicants can receive a Cal Grant, but not a Pell Grant. The importance of scholarships to cover costs was stressed, but students also understood that loans are okay if necessary for an investment in their education and future.
The following week, juniors spent two hours going over fixed, flexible, and discretionary expenses. This meeting focused on financial service providers where students looked at the benefits of using a bank account or credit union. Through several activities, students figured out credit unions were more advantageous for them since they are a low cost option. They also learned that bigger banks are more convenient, but do tend to cost more. This meeting came to a wrap with checking accounts and debit cards as an introduction to our next meeting on saving accounts.
Our students are definitely mastering and obtaining necessary skills that will help them develop strong financial plans.
–Giselle Martinez, College Connect Intern