As commencement season gets under way, community college students across our region have something new this year to prepare themselves for life and careers.
That’s because last fall, the California Community Colleges chancellor’s office announced a partnership with a Colorado nonprofit that’s designed to improve financial literacy among its thousands of students.
The National Endowment for Financial Education is making free online courses available across the community college system and in the first phase of partnership programs, announced last fall, the enrollment of 50 California institutions, including Ventura College was announced.
The core to the NEFE-CCC joint venture is a portal called Cash Course (www.cashcourse.org), which provides sign-up information and access to courses. After that, students can take free, online classes on topics such as money and relationships, paying for college, coping with student debt, and making smart purchases.
The program is a terrific tool for strengthening student skills as they have to navigate the risks and rewards of making the transition to a four-year college or the workplace. With student debt soaring past $1 trillion and students facing new and difficult choices about money and the future, President Barack Obama has created an advisory council on Financial Capacity for Young Americans.
Colorado-based NEFE has participated in that important project, which also counts the president of Skyline College as a representative of California’s community college system. With six of the 112 California community colleges located in the Tri-Counties, the impact of increased financial literacy among our thousands of students could be huge. Graduates who are better prepared for the challenges of the real world and the workplace will be better for our communities and for our financial institutions.
We’d encourage increased enrollment in the Cash Course programs from our participating community colleges and we’d encourage any institutions that aren’t participating to sign up.