Read updates about the Education Cents website, upcoming events, and other changes to take us into the new year.

in this issue...

• Financial education outcomes
• New features and functionality
• Partner resources 
• Upcoming events

in other news...

PARTNER SPOTLIGHT
Community College of Denver 
We've partnered with Community College of Denver to provide college financing and personal financial literacy information to their students at a crucial point in their education career.

Because there is a strong correlation between students who experience a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) probation at some point during college and students who have trouble making their student loan payments after college, CCD decided to focus one of their debt management efforts on reaching out to students when they are not meeting SAP requirements.

Part of CCD’s process for regaining eligibility for financial aid, after a SAP probation, requires students to complete part of the Education Cents online curriculum. We are working with CCD to streamline our processes to make this program efficient and effective for both their students and financial aid professionals. Being a smart consumer of higher education means making decisions both before college and while in college that support life and financial goals – any goal is going to be tougher to achieve with a debt burden that is too heavy to bear.

We are proud to be working with CCD to support their students in making financial decisions that work toward their goals.

REWARDS SPOTLIGHT
Stephanie Tran, Junior at University of Denver
August 2011 – $500 Scholarship
"Higher education is important because it gives students an opportunity to reach higher limits and explore potential careers, which they might not otherwise encounter if they did not go to school."

FIN LIT NEWS
Here are a few reports and articles  that we've found interesting. Read our blog, follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook to get more like this. Happy reading!

• Calibrating and Circumventing the Cost of College  (GetRichSlowly.com)
• Why You Should Check Your Credit Score and Credit Report  (GenXFinance.com)  
• Why Your Savings Rate May Be More Important than your Rate of Return  (Mint.com/Blog)
• Ten Things College Students Waste Money On  (Forbes.com)
• 5 Credit Score Myths Most People Believe  (CarefulCents.com)

Partner News

Thank you for your continued partnership and assistance in making the Education Cents program a success!

With our wonderful colleagues at the Colorado Department of Higher Education, we are beginning to study outcome-oriented measures of the effectiveness of the Education Cents program. Though our program is still relatively new, we are seeing some exciting things!

Financial education outcomes can be difficult to measure. Many measures are self-reported which, while valuable, are often difficult to verify. So, instead of focusing our outcome-oriented analysis on general measures of financial capability – things like opening a bank or credit union account, maintaining an emergency fund, paying down debt, and managing a budget – we’ve decided to analyze measures specifically related to higher education financing. We’re looking at FAFSA completion, matriculation to college, college retention and completion, and student loan borrowing habits. We’ll report more findings as we have them, but a couple of exciting early studies have found…
  • Almost 99% of the 2010 HS seniors who used Education Cents have completed a FAFSA (compared to the state average – 47%). This is important because students who complete a FAFSA are much more likely to enroll in higher education and have taken positive steps to access financial aid.
  • Only 1.7% of the users for whom we have financial aid data borrowed private education loans (compared to a national average of 14%). This is important because private education loans often carry higher, variable interest rates and should usually be considered a last-resort type of financial aid, after all federal aid options are exhausted.
 While it is difficult to determine the direct cause of student behaviors, because our findings are so strong, we believe that this early data points toward Education Cents making a positive impact on student outcomes. We know that financial education can influence financial and educational behaviors and we are proud of our efforts to contribute to student’s success.



NEW FEATURES AND FUNCTIONALITY
We make program and functionality changes based on our users’ feedback. If you have a suggestion or if you have any questions about our new functionality, don’t hesitate to let us know!

Facilitator updates– updates to our learning management system and professional tools. To learn more and get access visit the Groups Page.
  • Group communication alerts – Each time you provide new information to your group through your message board, forums, polls or media libraries, an alert will be sent to your group members. For groups created before November 1st, just open your group, click “manage the group” in the Group Admin navigation section on the right-side of the page, and check the “send content notifications” option. For all new groups created after November 1st, the default will be set to send notifications and you may choose to deselect that option if you do not want to notify your group of group activity.
  • Hide old groups – You’ll now have the ability to make groups inactive so that you don’t see them in your active groups list. To deactivate a group, just open your group, click “manage the group” in the Group Admin navigation section on the right-side of the page, and deselect the “group is active” option. You’ll still be able to access inactive groups, but they’ll be hidden under “inactive groups” in the My Groups navigation section on the right-side of the page.
  • Identity Theft materials – We recently completed our Identity Theft presentation, action worksheet and financial IQ quiz. All of these resources are now available in the Facilitator Resources pages. Access to all of our facilitator resources is completely free and is available to all Education Cents Group Facilitators. To learn more and get access visit the Groups Page.


NEW PARTNER RESOURCES
We partner with many excellent financial education providers. These are a few exciting new resources for educators and organizations.
  • Junior Achievement’s Finance Park – This new program, currently only available in the Denver metro area and presented by Great-West Life, helps students build a foundation for making intelligent, lifelong, personal financial decisions through hands-on, realistic site-based experiences. The program includes in-school, teacher-led activities culminating in a visit to JA Finance Park and a post-visit assessment. Visit Junior Achievement online or contact Stephanie Murphy for more information, smurphy@jacolorado.org or (303) 260-6284.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s online Core Concepts Cards – The Core Concept Cards website, from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, provides a strong foundation of economic and personal finance vocabulary for secondary students. Games, activities and online interactives are available to help students develop an economic way of thinking and advanced money management skills. 


UPCOMING EVENTS
Check our calendar for upcoming events throughout the year and be sure to follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.

Education Cents Train-the-Trainer Events
These day-long events provide information on using the Education Cents program and teaching personal finance.
 
We've just completed our fall train-the-trainer series and have already begun scheduling for the spring. If you are interested in attending a train-the-trainer event or hosting an event in a computer lab, please let us know. We publish a list of upcoming train-the-trainer events as they are scheduled, on our For Partners page.
 
Fiscal Fitness workshop
Save The Date – January 26-28, 2012
Front Range Community College, Westminster, CO
 
The Colorado Jump$tart Coalition offers this free, hands-on, 3-day workshop to build knowledge about personal finance to reinforce your excitement and ability to bring the same knowledge to students. This workshop is made possible by the generous support of Great-West Life. Benefits include:
  • Reimbursement for substitutes for Thursday &  Friday, personal stipend for Saturday
  • Free materials for you and your classroom
  • Graduate credit available
You are receiving this email because you are a member of the Education Cents user group or you requested to be notified about training opportunities and updates to the Education Cents program.

About Education Cents
Education Cents offers a login-enabled, interactive website with a self-paced curriculum as well as presentations and workbooks. In addition to the fundamentals of personal finance, the program also helps users explore their relationships with money, the consequences of their decisions, and the frameworks from which they view their financial situations. Education Cents is intended for high school and college students of all ages and their families.

Education Cents is available free of charge to any school or non-profit organization. If you would like support or assistance implementing the Education Cents program with your audiences, please contact us at info@educationcents.org.

We make continuous changes and enhancements to the program based on feedback from our users. Keep your comments and suggests coming.

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