Money Does Matter

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Rebecca Byers
The Corsair

The Financial Literacy Committee introduced the 2012 Pensacola State College theme Money Matters. Money Matters means that money is important. Rachelle Burns, the director of Student Support Services, is also the chair of the financial literacy committee at Pensacola State College.

“I was one of the first people along with a small group of people who put together this committee in order to make financial literacy a priority of the college. The committee has been in existence since 2009, but we became an official committee of the college in 2010,” Burns said.

Financial literacy means improving people’s ability to understand the word money. The financial literacy committee’s goal is to improve money management and finances. Just this year Student Support Services introduced a requirement, based on federal regulations, to have financial literacy as an option for their students to improve their money management skills. Aces, AmeriCorps for Escambia and Santa Rosa County, are working with the financial literacy committee. Valerie Kendrick works with AmeriCorps and volunteers at Pensacola State College.

“I teach financial literacy to students or introduce the programs to students as well as the community. We will be putting on workshops at the college here as well as community centers around Escambia and Santa Rosa counties,” Kendrick said.

The financial literacy course is a four-hour course, but participants can choose to do the course in two-hour or one-hour increments. Also there are pre- and post-tests that are about 15 questions and identify the participant’s weak and strong areas as far as writing checks, budgeting, and bank accounts. At the end of the course, the participants will receive a certificate. AmeriCorps plans to interview the participants that have already taken the course in the matter of six months and see how the course has helped them and how it has improved their lives.

“We hope that 90 percent of the participants in the course will improve their money management skills between the pre- and post-tests,” Burns said.

Dexter Vickers, a Pensacola State College student, has experienced what it is like to have weak money management skills. He is a part of the Cash Course program, which is an online reference for the financial literacy committee.

“The Cash Course program and money management has helped me a whole lot in my checkbook. In my opinion, I think it should be a requirement for college students to take this course. It really helped me a whole lot with budgeting, like the money I have at the end of the month, I can do stuff with. I focus on the things I need like books, and I am more mature with my money and it really does help a person who is in college and trying to better themselves. This course really helped me learn how to save instead of overspending and today I am in a better situation then I was before,” Vickers said.

The Money Matters course covers a broad range of aspects and activities. The faculty is teaching money matters to their class regardless of the subject matter that they teach. According to Burns, English teachers are using financial literacy as topic to write essays, and even Public Speaking classes are using financial literacy as their speech themes.

According to Burns, as they were developing Money Matters, they found out that there was a judicial project going on. Two local judges were focusing on financial literacy within the court system to help individuals who were in danger of losing their children manage their money so they will be able to keep their children. Also according to Burns, now the judicial project, Pensacola State College and AmeriCorps are all working together on the money matters theme.

“Some skills and techniques that money management taught me are to really understand the program and how to use money wisely. One thing that really helped me was learning to reward myself sometimes but not all the time. Also I learned how to communicate with my bank. Now when I write a check I can look at what is in the bank, and I actually call them before I write the check,” Vickers said.

“The bank really communicates by asking ‘do you want us to text you when your account gets low?’ By communicating and learning this process, it can really help you understand. Now I can get a text and see what goes in my account. I know what my balance is all the time,” Vickers said.

The Money Mattters course will be launched the fall of this year on the last week of September. If you would like to know more information about this course or financial literacy, you can visit the Student Support Services office in Bldg. 6.