Program to teach parents, students to save for college
Posted: Friday, July 9, 2010 9:36 pm
MEMPHIS (AP) — A new program geared to teach Tennessee’s students and their parents how to save money for college is part of a growing national emphasis on financial literacy education.
The Tennessee Financial Literacy Commission will help students save for college and educate their parents about the financial challenges. The program will initially target elementary school students. Also in the early plans is a Web-based clearinghouse giving residents access to financial literacy resources already in place in Tennessee.
Nationally, the Bank on Cities program, 25 cities strong and about to add 50 more, helps municipal leaders connect low- and moderate income people with affordable, safe bank accounts to avoid predatory lenders and other expensive alternatives, like check cashing and title loan services.
The campaign organized by the National League of Cities requires a partnership between city governments, banks, credit unions and community groups. It has grown from a handful of cities in 2008 to nearly 25 today, said Heidi Goldberg, a director of family economic success programs with the National League of Cities.
Another 50 cities are close to launching or are in the planning stages. Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton announced “Bank on Memphis” earlier this year, and Goldberg was recently in Louisville, Ky., to mark that city’s participation.
The Bank on Cities campaign apparently has caught the eye of the Obama administration, which has made a $50 million federal budget request for the program.
Another national group called Junior Achievement already addresses financial education in Tennessee. Junior Achievement is a nonprofit organization that teaches work readiness skills, entrepreneurship and financial literacy to students.
Junior Achievement’s, JA Finance Park program places students in a grown-up situation — married with children, for example. Students must manage budgets and make decisions about what house they are going to live in, whether they are going to rent or buy, and what car to purchase. Another program sends students to JA BizTown, where they take on roles such as mayor, bank teller or restaurant owner, and work together to run a miniature city. Tennessee’s arm of Junior Achievement hopes to join forces with the state program, said Larry Colbert, president of Junior Achievement of Memphis
Published in The Messenger 7.9.10