Beta Alpha Psi, Providing Local Students with Basic Financial Knowledge
When Beta Alpha Psi, an honorary for finance and accountancy students at WMU, was looking for a way to engage with the community, they turned to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Financial Literacy Curriculum.
The curriculum is designed for student groups in grades 3 through 12 and is available on PwC’s website for public use. Participants leading the curriculum can choose from a variety of topics ranging from credit card education to career exploration.
Ten WMU Beta Alpha Psi members visited 7th and 8th grade classes at Kalamazoo Public Schools’ Linden Grove Middle School. They focused on the career exploration, budgeting and the basics of accounting units, all of which helped expand on a unit already been introduced in the classroom.
“The Financial Literacy curriculum provided a host of engaging activities for our students that reinforced and expanded on the career unit recently completed in my classroom,” says Julie Ermatinger, life skills teacher at Linden Grove.
Dr. Donald Gribbin, professor and chair of accountancy at WMU emphasizes the importance of financial literacy and the practical applications of the skills. “The PwC program is important because it ensures that students are learning basic financial skills at a young age, preparing them to have a strong financial future,” says Gribbin.
M.S.A. student, Kevin Steinbach agrees that the PwC program is essential for providing younger students with knowledge outside of the typical curriculum that will help them build important foundations, in and out of the workplace. “The goal of the program is not to create financial experts but to create financially conscious young people," says Steinbach. “This consciousness is a vital skill no matter what career path these students choose to pursue.”
And it is not just the middle school students who benefit from the experience. The accounting students found that the activity enhanced their academic career and relationship with the community. Mike Eubanks, B.B.A.’12 , M.S.A student and former Beta Alpha Psi president, says that it is also important for university students to engage in the community outside the University.
“Accounting students, as future professionals, have a responsibility to give back to the community through service-oriented programs,” says Eubanks. “I found the Financial Literacy Program to be very rewarding and plan to continue to support such programs within the schools.”
The students of the organization plan to continue the program within local schools to help young students realize the importance of financial planning and career exploration.