NTAE: "Teaching Money Matters" Feature Story

Several West Virginia University Extension faculty and educators have completed training to teach WVU’s Financial Literacy program, and more than half (58%) said they plan to offer the content to middle and high school students. Training Teachers

25 Educators attended core competency seminars in financial literacy.

33 Educators attended WVU Financial Literacy content and eval tool overview sessions.

38 Educators are trained to teach “Savings & Investing,”

Extension program works with educators to deliver customized financial literacy classes.

“Basic Finance,” “Debit & Credit.”

Why did you apply for an NTAE grant this year?

financial literacy education, thus improving financial literacy rates throughout the state. Having more effective marketing materials will help us reach our goal.

Financial literacy is essential for individuals and households to achieve goals such as buying a car or a home, saving for retirement, and provid- ing for children’s education. It’s also vital for communities. When individuals and households are financially literate, they are more likely to contribute to their communities. The result? Stronger, more resilient cities and towns. Formed in 2021, the Financial Literacy Team at West Vir- ginia University teaches children and adults basic financial concepts and risks, so that they make the most informed de- cisions about how to save, invest, and manage debt. “Our goal is to help people build healthy financial skills that will last a lifetime,” says Laura Weatherford, associate professor and Extension agent at West Virginia University (WVU) and leader of the financial literacy team. The team won a 2022-2023 New Technologies for Ag Ex- tension grant to help make financial literacy education more accessible to more people in West Virginia. In this Q&A,

Project Goals • Improve financial literacy rates in West Virginia. • Expand WVU’s financial literacy education program statewide. • Build WVU Extension’s reputation as a leading source for financial literacy education.

Our team has accomplished a lot in a short period of time as county agents, but we felt we could move the project to a higher level with the technical assistance and support offered through the NTAE grant. Through working with the Extension Foundation’s Key Infor- mants in marketing and communications, we identified gaps in how we communicate and market our program. We’ve been developing a marketing plan and project publications using that information. We’re working on creating an introduction letter to schools, considering how to improve our website and increase traffic, and developing materials to present to prospective partners and sponsors. The Extension Foundation’s evaluation specialist also helped us by affirming that we were on the right track in our work.

Do you have data that show the effectiveness of your modules?

Yes! Among the participants in the “FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) & Financial Aid” module, 58% of participants surveyed said they were motivated to complete FAFSA forms and apply for financial aid; 73% said they intended to apply for financial aid to attend college. What lessons have you learned as you’ve developed your program? Through training and program implementation, we’ve learned that we need to provide instructors with more ed- ucation about how to use the evaluation tool. We’ve used a collaborative and interactive approach to review and update our evaluation tools to meet users’ needs. We are ➤

Weatherford talks about howshe and her team worked with NTAE advisors to increase the flexibility of the curriculum and equip Extension educators to teach the material in a way that meets the unique needs of individual communities.

Ultimately, our goal is to reach more West Virginians with

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