Bridging the Gap Symposium Brings Together K-12 and Higher Ed Representatives to Discuss Ways to Increase Financial Capability of College-Bound Students

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Higher One-hosted event features sharing of innovative programs to deliver financial literacy education.

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The importance of financial education was highlighted and verified as a significant aspect within a student’s progression and completion of their degree.

More than 70 higher education and K-12 educators and administrators gathered last week to share ideas and best practices in financial literacy education at Bridging the Gap: Increasing Financial Capability Among College-Bound Students, a symposium held in advance of the Council for Economic Education’s Annual Conference and hosted by Higher One, a leader in providing financial services and data analytics to more than 1,900 colleges and universities.

“The symposium created a wonderful environment where professionals from both K-12 and higher education could come together and discuss the needs of today’s students in regard to financial education—we were able to address concerns and give possible solutions for our specific student populations,” said attendee and presenter Ashleigh Lewis, student development professor and ‘Academic Foundations’ coordinator at Tyler Junior College in Texas. “The importance of financial education was highlighted and verified as a significant aspect within a student’s progression and completion of their degree.”

Money Matters on Campus, a recently released research report that examined the financial attitudes and behaviors of 65,000 first-year college students, found that those who received financial literacy education in high school scored significantly higher than their peers on financial knowledge questions and are more responsible when it comes to money.

However, even though K-12 and college-level interventions can have a positive impact on a student’s ability to become financially capable, there has been a lack of dialogue between K-12 and higher education practitioners on the issue, explained Mary Johnson, director of financial literacy and student aid policy at Higher One.

“After seeing that the conversation about financial literacy education has been predominantly separate in terms of K-12 and higher education, Higher One wanted to bring together these groups to explore the different ways each is preparing students to succeed through innovative approaches to financial literacy,” said Johnson. “The results of Money Matters on Campus show the need to start financial literacy education in the K-12 setting and continue throughout a student’s college years—it’s imperative that we work together to bridge the gap and increase financial capability among students.”

Bridging the Gap featured an array of speakers, including Eileen Klein, president of the Arizona Board of Regents, who showcased the state’s AZ Earn to Learn initiative that aims to “prepare high school students for college with financial education and matching funds.” Further, a panel of K-12 innovators and high school educators—featuring teachers from Reading, Ohio, and Duncanville, Texas—discussed the ways in which they have addressed financial literacy in high school courses through peer-to-peer mentorship programs and mobile technologies, including the Moneythink model.

“One of our district's core beliefs is that our schools should be impacting the community. Producing graduates who are credit wise borrowers, disciplined savers and savvy investors will result in both personal financial security and a healthy local economy,” said attendee and presenter Jerry Lozier, economics instructor at Duncanville High School. “I have found that our students rank personal financial literacy and smart money management as the most important skills they need to acquire for future successes in the ‘real world.’ This event introduced me to an entire network of individuals committed to helping students learn these necessary and relevant skills.”

From a higher education perspective, attendees learned about Tyler Junior College’s “Good Cents” financial literacy program, which has been established through a partnership with a local bank; Sam Houston State University’s Student Money Management Center, offering financial coaching sessions, workshops and classroom presentations; and heard from Bryan Ashton, assistant director of the student life student wellness center at The Ohio State University, who highlighted his institution’s approach to financial literacy, which includes a focus on peer-to-peer counseling as “preparing students for successful citizenship beyond college.”

About Higher One
Higher One Holdings, Inc. partners with colleges and universities to lower their administrative costs and to improve graduation rates. We provide a broad array of payment, refund disbursement and data analytics and management tools to institutions that help them save money and enhance institutional effectiveness. And for students, we offer financial literacy programs and convenient, flexible and affordable transaction options to help them manage their finances. Higher One is a leader in higher education, supporting more than 1,900 schools and 13 million enrolled students. More information about Higher One can be found at http://www.higherone.com.

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Kyle Gunnels
Higher One
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