College Financial Education Campaign
Raising financial literacy competencies among students and community members forms the main goal of an exciting campaign launched at Wake Technical Community College this year. In collaboration with the SunTrust Foundation and the National Financial Educators Council, Wake Tech opened the inaugural semester of its Center for Financial Education in spring 2013 to serve students, faculty, and the whole community.
The Center’s opening semester featured 20 events and reached over twenty-thousand people through live instruction, media, contests and campaign outreach. The campaign reach was extended with media coverage, on campus fliers, web presence, word-of-mouth and the NFEC’s email list that informed over 14,000 people about the SunTrust Foundation Center for Financial Education. The Channel 11 news also helped to raise awareness throughout North Carolina by featuring a several minute segment of the overall initiative.
The campaign kicked off in January-February with the Center’s acclaimed Financial Empowerment Workshop Series. This series took place over four class periods and covered lessons in credit, debt, savings, money management, and investment basics. Courses featured multimedia videos and real-world activities aimed at improving participants’ financial foundation. Graduates of the Workshop Series received Certificates of Accomplishment at the Graduation Celebration held February 27. This celebration also served as the kickoff event for the larger financial literacy campaign.
Students that attended the event had various comments on how the coursework helped them personally. One student commented, “What I liked most was how to budget my money. I got some good advice on how to rebuild my credit.” Another student shared, “I think the class was very good for those of us who need a little financial support. I think everyone should take the class at least once.”
On February 12, the Center featured a Crash Course titled Building Your Credit Rating. This project-based workshop, featuring videos and real-world activities, primed participants to take action toward improving their credit ratings and create plans to avoid or pay off debt. Twice on March 5, the campaign offered a Financial Empowerment Staff Education Workshop on Retirement Planning and
Investing designed especially for educators and staff. This 90-minute presentation helped participants form a solid plan with clear action steps toward achieving financial wellness.
From March 9 – April 20 the campaign hosted the Financial Scavenger Hunt Contest, a fun, reality-based contest that helped people learn money management skills while competing for
prizes. Students participated in activities that will help them build their financial foundation, including: reviewing SunTrust’s student checking account options, getting a free copy of their credit report, calculating compounding interest and meeting with Wake Tech personnel.
March 9 and April 13 marked dates for classes targeting prospective students that were presented during each of the two Wake Tech Open Houses—the College Family Finance event for students who brought parents, and the Financial Empowerment event for those attending alone. Throughout April the Center for Financial Education celebrated Financial Literacy Month with contests, free online financial education, and a booth at the College’s Spring Fling.
The SunTrust Foundation Center for Financial Education’s inaugural semester ended with fun, food, and participant recognition at its Closing Ceremonies event April 26 on the Wake Tech main campus. The National Financial Educators Council recognized Wake Tech and the SunTrust Foundation for their commitment to promote financial wellness. The Financial Education Leadership Award (FELA) is provided to organizations that have made a significant commitment to delivering educational programming, raising awareness and creating a model that ensures long-term sustainability.
Kimberly Knox, lead instructor for the National Financial Educators Council states, “My experience with Wake Tech has allowed me to connect with people from all walks of life, affording me an opportunity to discuss the subject of money of money management to them in a manner in which they can identify with and understand. It is important to be in a position to share your experiences with money with others so that you can better understand your mistakes and grasp ways to improve your skills.”
Establishment of the Center for Financial Education is a demonstration of Wake Tech’s commitment to improving financial outcomes for its students, staff, and faculty. The financial literacy program represents the successful collaboration between the Community College, the SunTrust Foundation, and the National Financial Educator’s Council. This collaborative effort provides holistic financial education to help participants achieve financial freedom and empowerment.
This inaugural semester is Wake Tech’s first step toward sustaining an ongoing campaign to raise awareness about financial literacy on campus and in the surrounding community. Thus the Center seeks to help the NFEC fulfill its mission: to create a world where people are informed to make qualified financial decisions that improve their lives, the lives of their loved ones, and the lives of people they influence around the globe.