ST. PAUL, Minn. (June 27, 2017) – Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union is giving Twin Cities students a behind-the-scenes look of branch operations this week as they participate in the Minnesota Council on Economic Education’s Personal Finance Summer Institute.
The University of Minnesota-affiliated program is held annually on campus in partnership with financial-education experts like Affinity Plus. Most students attending the week-long program are lower income, students of color, or those who will be the first in their family to attend college, according to Andrea Hanson, MCEE program and communications manager.
"Visiting a financial institution like Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union is an invaluable experience for these students,” Hanson said. “They often have little exposure to financial institutions and their functions. Learning the importance of budgeting, saving, managing credit and investing is critical to those wanting to attend college.
Stephanie Musgrove, a certified financial educator and business development specialist for the credit union, said Affinity Plus partners with MCEE because students “may not have this kind of opportunity at home or at school during the rest of the busy year.”
RESEARCH AND ACTION PLANS
The students’ visit to Affinity Plus is part of a busy week of all-day activities where they work on personalized “action plans” related to their college and career goals, Hanson said.
Students research various career fields, learn more about potential colleges or universities they might attend, and then ways they can save now for post-secondary tuition and related costs.
On the Summer Institute’s final day, Affinity Plus employees will attend the program’s College and Career Social to finish work on those Action Plans with students, Musgrove said.
“We’ve seen every year that students complete the program with an improved understanding of the steps they need to take to reach their specific goals,” she said. “Over a week’s time, you can see a greater level of confidence begin to build in them.”
AFFINITY PLUS FOUNDATION GRANT RECIPIENT
MCEE is a 2017 recipient of the Affinity Plus Foundation’s Community Grant. The grant is helping to support both this year’s and the 2018 Summer Institute. Foundation grant funding also has supported MCEE’s Personal Finance Decathlon, according to Amy Hanson, Affinity Plus Foundation executive director.
“MCEE is a fantastic partner because we share their passion to help students with personal finance education,” Hanson said. “Each year, the student participants demonstrate how eager they are to learn, and we’re grateful to play a part in their development.”
MCEE works with teachers across Minnesota to provide economic-education training and help them bring economic and personal-finance curriculum into their classrooms. MCEE also facilitates student programming, like the Summer Institute, to ensure students have the opportunity to participate in experiential and innovative learning in economics and personal finance.
More information about the program is available at https://www.mcee.umn.edu.