Many Maricopa Community College instructors are incorporating financial aid (and general financial education) literacy into cross-disciplinary courses at several campuses. Here are what a few instructors are doing to enhance student ability to better understand the benefits and impairment of financial aid for secondary education.
At GateWay Community College, Heidi Hutchins teaches Excel, Introduction to Business, Macroeconomics, and Microeconomics. Beyond (and sometimes within) these courses, Hutchins guides students into looking beyond college, and stresses research on future careers in order to make financial aid decisions now. She also covers basic budgeting and saving, mortgages, retirement, and FICO credit reports and their impact on job searches.
“One of the things I stress with students is the importance of researching future careers to determine what the job outlook is and what students can expect for a salary,” says Hutchins. “I often have students complete an assignment using the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.”
Marianne Smith, math faculty at SMCC, instructs all levels of math, and is a member of the colleges cohort default rate task force. In her courses, she has folded in educational components to showcase “real world” financial literacy like budgeting, loan payments and payback plans, and how defaulting affects the student and the community.
“If the message is integrated and relevant, students will hear it!” says Smith.
At Estrella Mountain Community College, Dr. Norma Jimenez Hernandez in the Division of Behavioral Sciences and Cultural Studies is residential faculty in psychology, a Diversity Committee co-chair, and a M.E.Ch.A. faculty advisor. “In my PSY 230: Introduction to Statistics course, I have students complete some assignments and class activities that incorporate financial literacy in the context of financial aid,” she says.
Hernandez strives to highlight the distinction between financial literacy and financial aid literacy, and meets with students and parents about financial aid literacy in Spanish and English. She also teaches stats students to investigate total costs for their education, and incorporates online tools like collegefactual.com and salary.com, videos from Professor Sara Goldrick-Rab, into the classroom.
Also at EMCC, Jason Martinez in the counseling department and Landis Elliott, who coordinates the peer mentor program, advise the CPD 150 (college readiness courses) curriculum has a component about financial literacy, and the PMP (Peer Mentor Program) includes financial literacy workshops.
Together, Maricopa Community Colleges faculty are collectively working to raise our students’ financial literacy in order to prepare them to be successful, smart consumers.