OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (3/3/14)--The Oklahoma Class of 2014 has an added high school graduation requirement this year--a Passport to Financial Literacy. Credit unions are expanding their already solid personal finance education programs to schools to help students meet the requirement and graduate.
The Passport to Financial Literacy Act passed in 2007, and effective in May, Oklahoma's seniors must earn a passport in order to graduate from high school. To earn it, they must show "satisfactory knowledge and satisfactory completion" of all 14 areas:
- Earning an income;
- Understanding state and federal taxes;
- Banking and financial services;
- Balancing a checkbook;
- Savings and investing;
- Planning for retirement;
- Understanding loans and borrowing money, including predatory lending and payday loans;
- Understanding interest, credit card debt, and online commerce;
- Identity fraud and theft;
- Rights and responsibilities of renting or buying a home;
- Understanding insurance;
- Understanding the financial impact and consequences of gambling;
- Bankruptcy; and
- Charitable giving.
Some schools are scrambling to meet the additional curriculum requirement, and that's where credit unions come in, said Cody Buchholz, assistant vice president of financial empowerment at Tinker FCU, Oklahoma City.
"We've built a reputation to help teachers with this subject matter," he told
Because the requirement isn't tied to a specific personal financial literacy course, it is being folded into classes such as government, math or life skills.
The $3.1 billion-asset credit union is partnering with 66 schools and is a primary sponsor of MoneyIsOK.com, a project of the Oklahoma Council of Economic Education.
Last year, Tinker FCU reached 19,000 people under age 25 with its various workshops. Its financial empowerment team has dedicated educators who teach in the community as well as staff volunteers. "It's part of our member give-back," Buchholz said.
The Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation provides free resources on its website and train-the-trainer sessions for curriculum from the National Endowment for Financial Education and Biz Kid$, said Executive Director Courtney Moran. "We try to make it as easy as possible for our credit unions to do what they need to do to provide that education," Moran told