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Colleges, jobs, cars. High school students had a lot on their minds this summer as they planned for the future. Two NDSU faculty members were there to help them learn best practices of handling money as they make choices about college, career and lifestyle.
Nancy Emerson and Fariz Huseynov from the College of Business taught a financial literacy course as part of the summer TRIO and Upward Bound program at NDSU. Since the 1960s, NDSU has helped prepare eligible high school students to transition to college through the programs. Each participant is a potential first-generation college student or is from an income eligible household.
The pair taught 35 students about personal finances, such as budgets, credit cards, retirement and identity theft. They discussed the cost of college, including scholarship and grant opportunities. Students learned how to set short- and long-term goals - both financial and life goals. All of the topics were chosen by the students.
“We want the students to make responsible decisions and to think about the things we covered,” said Huseynov.
Emerson and Huseynov volunteered for six weeks. They saw the importance in helping high school students understand personal finances.
“Nancy and Fariz taught financial literacy in a way that was real to the kids,” said Sydney Knutson, project coordinator of Upward Bound at NDSU. “Students connected with it and could see the benefit right away.”
During the course, students searched for jobs, using their new understanding of income and employer benefits. They looked at colleges without the assumption that they couldn’t afford it. They learned the difference between debit cards, credit cards and how to protect themselves from identity theft. They brought the information back to their families.
“Financial literacy was one of my favorite summer classes. I learned things I never knew before, like how to take care of my money in case of a rainy day,” said Titus Gruanue, a senior at Fargo South High School. “It even had me starting to think about retirement, even though I am still in high school.”
Emerson and Huseynov taught skills the students can use to advance and succeed.
“It’s who we are at NDSU,” said Emerson. “By doing the financial literacy classes with this group, how many of those will have just a nugget of new information? Maybe they come to NDSU for college, and if not, we at least had an impact in helping them get a hold of their financial situation.”