The 2015 CashCourse Championship winner, Saddleback College, has a holistic approach to financial literacy. Financial aid specialist Javier Williams serves as the school’s financial literacy ambassador and brings his personal passion to this work. He has advocated for and formed multiple cross-campus partnerships in their efforts.
'I'm so thankful for our partners across campus and for having a centralized tool like CashCourse,' Williams explains. 'CashCourse has done a lot of the footwork for us, even just in creating the materials, and we’ve been able to place it in multiple places on campus.'
Saddleback incorporates financial literacy into their financial aid orientations, 'FAFSA Wednesdays,' and seminars through their matriculation and counseling offices. They also use student ambassadors to promote CashCourse through lunchtime tabling events. Williams notes that their biggest challenge is 'cutting through the noise' of a student’s already busy schedule.
'Financial literacy is important to college students because it affects every facet of their life, from the moment they get up to the time they go to bed,' Williams says. 'You have to keep financial literacy fun and engaging, because it is scary to a lot of people. Don’t be afraid of the materials; keep the presentation simple and engaging.'
Their campaign's multiple points of outreach mirror Williams' belief that financial literacy affects every aspect of a student’s life. Saddleback has been able to integrate financial literacy throughout their campus culture. Some of the topics emphasized by Saddleback's financial literacy program include budgeting, credit cards, car costs, and preparing for a financial emergency. They strive to empower students to make the best choice for themselves based on their circumstances and values.
Williams stresses that assistance from the CashCourse team has been especially helpful in learning about opportunities and successfully implementing their campaign.
'Having a point person for financial literacy who works close with the CashCourse team has really helped us,' Williams says. 'In the future, I would love to see more collaboration and friendly competition between schools with financial literacy. Since CashCourse is a centralized program, it is a really great jumping point for those sorts of interactions.'
Saddleback is already on track to expand upon their existing programming. Williams says they plan to pour the $1,000 grand prize back into their financial education efforts.