National cooperative bank CoBank’s has donated $150,000 to help a University of Idaho Extension program teach students financial responsibility.
Northwest Farm Credit Services established a $280,000 four-year pilot program to expand the efforts of UI Extension educators Luke Erickson and Lyle Hansen to teach students about credit and financial literacy.
Northwest Farm Credit then introduced the program to CoBank, one of its partners, according to a UI Extension press release.
“Economic education and financial literacy have never been more important than they are right now,” said Chuck Olsen, lead relationship manager for CoBank, in the press release. “One could argue that they are as essential as math, science and the humanities to a well-rounded curriculum that will help students in the real world.”
Erickson and Hansen direct the regional program.
They recently completed an annual advisory board meeting, Erickson said. The board consists of representatives from Northwest Farm Credit Services, CoBank, state 4-H programs from Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington; and several Extension family and consumer science state representatives.
The program focuses on responsible borrowing, including student loans, and understanding financial contracts.
Additional topics in later years will include the time-value of money and compound interest, saving and investing, taxes and financial statements, record keeping, fraud and insurance.
The program will be developed so it is easily taught to youth audiences by third-party educators, including high school teachers and 4-H leaders, Erickson said.
“The additional support from CoBank will allow us to implement more uses of educational technology like apps and web tools that will expand our reach and increase the level of engagement we will have with youth audiences,” Erickson said.
The next step includes program creation, Erickson said. He and Hansen will lead teams of technology experts, designers and interns to develop and deliver programs.
“So far our youth programs have been well-received by youth and have resulted in significant knowledge gained and behavior changed,” Erickson said.