Help Middle School Students Explore Financial Literacy in MEFA Pathway
Life beyond high school can be a challenging time for many students as they transition into college or their career. It is often the first time a student is on their own and faced with bills like rent, the cost of food, and transportation. For many students, they learn how to budget on the fly through trial and error. In order to help students make a smoother transition to life after high school, more and more school districts are investing in financial literacy tools. Districts are doing this in hopes that by the time students graduate from high school, they will not only have an idea of their desired career path and the steps to take, but that they will also be prepared to manage their money. Much of the emphasis is placed on high school, however, financial literacy is not something reserved for high school students. In fact, middle school students can begin to explore financial literacy topics utilizing their MEFA Pathway accounts.
MEFA Pathway is a free college and career planning platform available to all students in grades 6-12. Middle school students can use their MEFA Pathway accounts to explore financial literacy topics such as budgeting, compound interest, and protecting their personal information. Students can use the Goals & Strategies feature under the Create Your Profile tab to build upon broader financial literacy concepts. Students can set goals related to money management and budgeting, such as saving up money to purchase a certain item or experience, and create a strategy to achieve it, including a completion date. Students can return to the page and mark goals as completed once they achieve them.
Learning about budgeting and types of payments are two key skills students should begin to explore at a young age. Within the Financial Literacy page, students can learn how credit cards work and access a credit card calculator where they can enter a credit card balance and learn about the monthly payments and total interest paid on the full card balance. This is a great companion activity for students as they learn about credit cards and forms of payment. Another great activity for students within MEFA Pathway is reviewing our Sample Budgets page. Within this page, students learn what a budget is and how to create one, and are able to view a sample budget. Once they understand how to create a budget, they have the opportunity to create their own by downloading a monthly budget worksheet. This is especially helpful for students as they begin to set financial goals and explore job opportunities, such as babysitting or lawn mowing. Through the budget activity, students are able to learn about how to manage their money to achieve a desired goal.
If you're a parent, educator, or student looking to learn more about financial literacy, we encourage you to explore our resources on MEFA Pathway.