MCEE in Action: Personal Finance Summer Institute for College Readiness

What’s a FAFSA? How do I apply for financial aid? What’s a credit score? 
These were just a few of the many questions students at last year’s Personal Finance Summer Institute for College Readiness explored. A week long camp at the University of Minnesota, the Summer Institute helps students prepare for post-secondary career and college options, understand how to pay for college, and learn more about vital personal finance topics like saving, budgeting, and investing.
The Summer Institute combined classroom instruction with online activities in career and college planning and college campus visits. In addition to the University of Minnesota, students visited Hamline University and Minnesota Community and Technical College. Students developed a post-secondary plan throughout the week, ultimately sharing and discussing that plan with group of industry professionals at a week-end ice cream social.
Here’s what last year’s students had to say about the Summer Institute:
The instructors were super helpful, nice, and obviously good at their jobs. I loved the college tours…the food was delicious!
What I liked best…is receiving information based on real world stuff, and how to budget your money along with a checking/savings account.
I liked that I was able to understand the process of taxes, how to budget and save money, and that “there is no such thing as a free lunch”. 
I learned about loans, how to manage it, how to pay for it, what to look at when taking out a loan (interest rate and length of it) and the consequences and penalties if you don’t make the payment on time. 
And here’s what they shared about the impact of the program and the advice they’d give to students in their position:
My participation in the Summer Institute put me ahead of the game. My advice to students…is to not give up and don’t be afraid to ask questions because it’s not an easy process. It is important to keep updated about opportunities out there that can benefit you as well, like scholarships. 
Thanks to the Summer Institute I now know how to manage my money. 
Learn and get to use the FAFSA. Dig around for scholarships and learn about loans in order to save money for post-secondary education. 
I have definitely looked at the cost variables of college more now and am aware that I need to think of my long term financial plan. I have gained financial maturity from the Summer Institute
We’re excited to host the Institute again this summer and look forward to sharing more stories from this year’s students. Stay tuned!
A special thanks goes to the Minnesota Office of Higher Education for their generous funding of last year’s program.