The two latest episodes in the Stand By Me podcast series focus on Stand By Me NextGen’s two high school financial literacy curricula, The College Funding Project, and College, Careers, and Cash.
Designed specifically for high school students, the two programs help teens imagine their desired future lifestyle, understand what it will cost to achieve and maintain that lifestyle, and then learn how to pay for the college education or postsecondary training necessary to achieve their dreams.
During the podcasts, Stand By Me financial coaches Sally Coonin and Candace Kinard discuss the College Funding Project, which helps students find and access grants and scholarships for college, and also describe the process for completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid paperwork, which is typically the starting point for every college-bound student.
“FAFSA is part of a larger funding strategy,” said Coonin. “It’s one of the funding ‘pots of gold.’ Every family needs to complete the FAFSA, because it’s the gateway to accessing other types of funding.”
“Even if they suspect their income may be too high to qualify, families should fill out the FASFA, just in case,” said Kinard. “Funding decisions take into account the size of the family as well as other family characteristics.”
In addition to discussing the FASFA process, the College Funding Project explains alternatives for paying for college and accessing scholarships, and even offers one-on-one assistance completing application materials.
The second episode focuses on College, Careers and Cash, an interactive program for ninth- and 10th-grade students that connects the dots between education, careers, finances, and lifestyle. The CCC program is a visioning process that helps younger students begin at the end, focus on their aspirations, and then work backward to develop a realistic educational and financial plan for achieving their aspirations.
“We see CCC as a preventive medicine workshop,” said Camille Moman, financial coach. “It helps youth plan for a foot-up in life, rather than having to play catch-up later.”
A post-curriculum survey shows that students who complete the CCC curriculum experience significant improvement in their understanding of life goals and the steps necessary to achieve those goals. “They are comprehending what an adult lifestyle is – from the cost of living to the cost of education, and the personal qualities it will take to achieve their desires,” said financial coach Corey Dunt.
In partnership with the State of Delaware, United Way of Delaware has been offering free financial coaching to Delawareans for more than 10 years through its Stand By Me initiative. To learn how Stand By Me NextGen works, listen to the podcast at https://standbymede.org/tips-tools-stand-by-me-podcasts.