Local Organization Teaches Financial Literacy to Students

Junior Achievement USA and the Voya Foundation, the charitable giving arm of Voya Financial, conducted a poll about the repayment of student loans. Between March 1 – 6, the organizations asked 1,000 13-17 year-olds about loan repayment. Sixty-five percent of the teens said borrowers are responsible for paying off their student loans, 11 percent said the government should pay it off, less then seven percent said the college should be responsible, and five percent said the lender is responsible for the debt.

The survey also showed that 89 percent of teens surveyed planned on attending college. Of the 89 percent of students that said they planned to attend college, 40 percent said they expect to receive help in the form of scholarships and grants, 21 percent said they assume they will receive financial support from their parents and family members, 17 percent said they plan to work to earn money for college and approximately 11 percent said they would use student loans.

“To make education relevant to a student’s future, we must expose them to mentors and role models from their own communities who have life and career experience to share, and who will guide, encourage, and support them,” Junior Achievement of Greater Washington President and CEO Ed Grenier told the AFRO. “Mentors who can help students understand the realities and expectations of the business world and economy. We must show a clear vision that exposes students to a variety of professions and skills that are in demand and will help them succeed in a rapidly evolving economy.”

Student loans are one of the biggest bills students will have to pay during the course of their lives. Junior Achievement is a small business that is helping students when it comes to making financial decisions.

Since 1965, Junior Achievement has provided programs to K-12 students that are taught by volunteers on financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship. This year the organization expanded to include more than 63,000 students throughout the metropolitan region. The surrounding area has Junior Achievement Finance Parks in Fairfax, Virginia and Landover, Maryland. A third facility is set to open in Montgomery County in 2018. There are 19 Finance Parks nationwide. The Junior Achievement program has taught 71,000 students financial literacy.

“As these young people enter the doors of Finance Park, they leave behind their lives as middle school students and take on a life scenario: an avatar with a career, salary, credit score, debt, a family, and financial obligations,” Grenier said. “The experience is about more than budgeting. It allows students to make the types of choices they will make as adults and encourage them to think carefully about their future education and career opportunities.”

On tablet computers, students make their way through various phases of the day, budgeting for a home, transportation, groceries, entertainment, childcare, and more.

“Junior Achievement inspires our region’s students to be financially capable, tenacious, and equipped with the tools to manage risk effectively, solve problems creatively, and answer the demands of the 21st Century economy with, ‘I can,’” Grenier said.