Course offers financial basics for students

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Photo courtesy Jennifer Sykes Hoffman/EverFi
EverFi Executive Vice President Sean Fitzgerald (back row left) and TCF Vice President Bob Borgstrom watch as Lincoln Park High School students Tyona Davis (front row left), Ashley Pivitt and Kiami Monsivais demonstrate some of the modules completed in their economics course.

By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers

LINCOLN PARK — More than 250 Lincoln Park High School students gained a financial education the new-fashioned way, through online learning programs and modules courtesy of TCF Bank and tech company EverFi.

The TCF Bank Financial Scholars Program was introduced Tuesday at the school, a 10-unit web-based learning platform making use of video, animation, 3-D gaming and social networks to teach financial concepts. Lincoln Park Public Schools Supt. Richard Rockwell said the program’s “blended learning” approach of matching classroom time with online lessons is well suited to the subject at hand.

“The students are into technology,” Rockwell said, “and need to learn about savings, checking accounts, taxes and basic things in life. I love this program.”

Online learning gives students real-life examples and lessons in basic financial concepts. Through TCF and EverFi, the program’s pilot course was introduced last week, and Rockwell said the course is a win-win for the district in bringing enhanced education without additional expenses.

“This is nice because it’s sustainable,” Rockwell said. “Once you get something online it’s free, once it’s built it’s nothing to maintain.”

Rockwell said an adult version of the program was expected to be launched soon, and the district may explore offering sessions for residents. Mayor Patricia Diaz Krause attended last week’s launch and was impressed with the useful lessons being taught.

“It’s real world, practical things,” Krause said. “It takes you step by step through subjects like what a credit score is, how it’s developed. That’s just one aspect.”

The program’s modules provide basic understandings of bank accounts, credit and debit cards, loans and other matters that high school students need to know.

“A lot of kids today don’t have the benefit of a parent or adult to explain how finances are part of your life,” Krause said. “Taking this course, these kids know more than some adults do.”

TCF Bank officials said the program was introduced at more than 95 schools in Michigan, and students who successfully complete the course receive a certification in financial literacy to include understanding student loans, 401k plans and other issues.

(James Mitchell can be reached at jmitchell@bewickpublications.com.)