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Finance University switches to virtual

Available to all educators in-state, some out-of-state

Call it Finance University 2.0.

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forcing the way West Virginia University normally does business, it looked as if its Finance University — which helps school students deal with financial realities — was going to be cancelled in 2020. 

“We struggled with whether or not we should have it,” said Naomi Boyd, chair of WVU’s Department of Finance and director of the Financial Literacy Education. But when shown  statistics that nine out of 10 struggled with financial literacy, it was decided to do the program, only virtually.”

This year Finance University, now in its 18th year, will take place Thursday-Friday and Monday-Tuesday. It is open to all educators in the state’s 55 counties, as well as teachers in neighboring counties of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

“Now more than ever, Americans are realizing the importance of having a strong financial plan in place, including emergency savings, a budget and proper insurance,” she said.

“Preparing students to handle financial decisions begins with properly preparing and training educators to teach and deliver personal finance lessons in the classroom,” Boyd said. The goal of Finance University is to serve as a framework to combat current challenges and give educators the tools to prepare their students for future financial challenges.”

Boyd said despite moving the sessions online this year, they have attracted 40-plus teachers from 16 state counties, as well as five from out-of-state. This is down only 10 from last year’s in-person attendance, she added.

“It’s a different demographic this year,” Boyd said. “We have seven more elementary and middle school teachers.”

Topics to be discussed during the four-day program include basic investing, alternatives to a four-year  college, health insurance and hands-on banking, as well as estate planning and buying a home.

“Getting this information out to the community is important.”

Finance University is recognized as a best practice for teacher trainings by the U.S. Financial Literacy Education Commission. Attendees receive three hours of professional development credit, and participation satisfies the West Virginia Department of Education’s requirements to attain the Personal Finance Education Specialist advanced credential.

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