Affinity Plus welcomes new Itasca Community College students with Smart Money sessions

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. (Aug. 29, 2017) – Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union welcomed Itasca Community College students back to school the week of Aug. 21-25, with lessons as important as any they’ll learn during their years at the Grand Rapids post-secondary school.

For the third year, Affinity Plus employees hosted four Smart Money sessions during ICC’s new-student orientation. The goal is to help students better understand critical financial decisions they may have to make in the years to come.

Affinity Plus financial educators Ben Morales, Jodie Swan and Stephanie Musgrove engaged the students in game-show like activities, but the topics were serious: responsible budgeting, credit use and borrowing habits to prepare students for success both in college and after graduation.

“Some students don’t realize they’ve made poor financial decisions until it’s too late,” said
Bill Marshall, ICC director of enrollment. “We’re trying to remedy that by inviting in Affinity Plus educators. The Smart Money sessions always are a big hit.”

LESSONS LEARNED
During each of the sessions, the educators asked students to share something they learned or that stood out to them:

· “Abby” said she learned the importance of paying off her credit card balance each month;
· “Dominick” and “Haley” both said they didn’t realize how high interest rates on credit cards are;
· “Tyler” said it’s important to plan ahead so he won’t borrow more than he needs for school.

During the third session, Morales greeted a current Affinity Plus member, whom he’d met at a previous community financial-education session.

“To see this member again was such a cool demonstration of the value of our outreach,” he said. “We connected at last year’s class, and when he came in to our Grand Rapids branch to open his Affinity Plus membership, he mentioned he wanted to enroll in school again. So it’s like we've come full circle.”

LESSONS SHARED STATEWIDE
Musgrove said Affinity Plus conducts similar personal-finance sessions at other Minnesota colleges and universities, including Minnesota State University-Moorhead; Bemidji State University; St. Cloud State University; and Winona State University. Credit union employees also visit various colleges and secondary school classrooms across the Twin Cities.


NEWS PHOTO
Ben Morales, top center, an Affinity Plus employee and educator from the credit union’s Grand Rapids, Minn., branch, leads a financial-education session the week of Aug. 21 at Itasca Community College (ICC). Morales and two other Affinity Plus staff lead the sessions during new-student orientation to help freshmen learn more about budgeting, credit use and borrowing for student debt. The sessions were the third year for Affinity Plus to partner with ICC. Affinity Plus conducts similar personal-finance sessions at other Minnesota colleges and universities, including Minnesota State University-Moorhead; Bemidji State University; St. Cloud State University; and Winona State University.