MSUFCU Supports Financial Reality Fairs for Area High School Students with $18,000 Grant
EAST LANSING, Mich. — It’s not an easy choice — do you pay for car repairs or buy the latest video game? This may be an unusual question for most high school students, unless they are participating in Reality Fairs.
Annual Financial Reality Fairs offer real life adult experiences for Lansing area high school students, such as learning how to plan for everyday expenses as well as unexpected costs while staying within a budget. MSU Federal Credit Union (MSUFCU) recently donated $18,000 in grant funds it received from The National Credit Union Foundation to support the day-long events. Reality Fairs were held at Charlotte High School and at Lansing’s Sexton High School.
“MSUFCU is committed to providing financial education to community members of all ages,” said Whitney Anderson-Harrell, MSUFCU’s Chief Community Development Officer. “The Reality Fairs are a great way to give high school students a view into real-world decisions they may face once they are responsible for their own decisions and resources. We enjoy interacting with the students, working with them on their budgets, and helping them learn more about consequences of financial decisions in a risk-free environment.”
The Financial Reality Fairs are interactive financial literacy tools for high school students. They provide hands-on experiences in which students identify their careers and starting salaries then complete a budget sheet requiring them to live within their monthly salary while paying for basics such as housing, utilities, transportation, clothing, and food. Additional expenditures, such as entertainment and travel, are factored in as well.
“I think that the MSUFCU Reality Fair is a well-run, organized event and an excellent opportunity for our students to gain awareness as how to maneuver through life after high school,” said Kathy Hubbard, Magnet Focus Teacher at Sexton High School. “It gives them a little insight as to some of the things that can happen in your daily life as a working adult with bills, responsibilities, and experiences for which you may or may have not planned. When the students truly get in to the activities and think about their choices, it can be life changing!”
Throughout the fair, there are many temptations for additional spending, and students must learn to balance their wants and needs to live within their means. After students have visited various booths covering components of independent living, students balance their budgets, and then sit down with a financial counselor for review.
MSUFCU has a national reputation for excellence and has received several top industry and workplace awards. The Credit Union was named Best Workplace in Financial Services and Insurance by Fortune Magazine, received the ATHENA Award® for Organizational Leadership, and for the fifth year, was named West Michigan Best and Brightest to Work For. MSUFCU has been certified as a Great Place to Work® for five consecutive years, and was named as a Top Workplace in the large employer category by the Detroit Free Press for six years in a row. In 2018, it was again recognized as one of CU Journal’s Best Credit Unions to Work For, a Michigan Best and Brightest in Wellness award winner, and National Best and Brightest in Wellness award winner. Founded in 1937, MSUFCU has 19 branches, more than 273,000 members, $4.4 billion in assets, and more than 900 employees.