Harrisburg, PA (April 8, 2019) - How much does it really cost to buy your groceries, rent and furnish your apartment, or care for your dog? Can you afford to pay for your dream car on a starting salary, or will you have to compromise? Is it realistic to splurge on a shopping spree or a day at the spa? These are just a few of the questions that approximately 100 Harrisburg Academy students in grades 9-12 will be faced with during participation in a Financial Reality Fair sponsored by PSECU on April 10. Held on campus at the academy’s Wormleysburg location from 1:20-3 p.m., the event will offer the students what may prove to be a much-needed, real-world financial management and personal budgeting simulation.
“During a Financial Reality Fair, students are assigned a budget and credit score. They then progress through a series of booths where they make choices about things like housing, transportation, entertainment, and more. Staying within the given parameters, their goal is to end the exercise with a balanced budget, or better, have money to spare,” said PSECU Financial Education Manager Sara Weiser. “The lessons learned by this highly useful financial education and skill-building activity are often surprising for students, and it really helps prepare them for future financial success. As the state’s largest credit union, we’re pleased to partner with Harrisburg Academy to offer this opportunity to them.”
With the help of volunteers from PSECU and Harrisburg Academy, the Financial Reality Fair is designed to be a highly interactive experience for student participants. Each student will receive a budgeting worksheet containing salary information based on randomly selected careers and levels of education. They’ll then visit a series of booths to learn about and make choices pertaining to living expenses, from housing and transportation to insurance. To end the activity with a balanced budget, students are encouraged to revisit each booth as many times as needed.
“We are very excited to be offering this opportunity for our Upper School students,” said John Binnert, Head of Middle and Upper Schools for Harrisburg Academy. “Learning to budget and manage living expenses is an important skill for today’s youth. Our students will very soon be going off to college and will be required to budget and manage their finances, quite possibly for the first time. We are pleased to be partnered with PSECU to deliver this experience to our students.”
This marks the first time that PSECU will offer a Financial Reality Fair event to a high school audience as opposed to university-aged students.
“We made the decision to expand our Financial Reality Fair outreach to a younger age group because we believe that a strong financial understanding is important for everyone and that it’s never too early to start learning,” added Weiser. “WalletWorks, our financial education program, our Youth Savings Account, and the PSECU Savings app are just a few of the resources we offer, in addition to the reality fairs, that can help youth build their money management skillset.”
Throughout 2018, PSECU hosted Financial Reality Fairs at Bloomsburg University, California University of Pennsylvania, and Kutztown University. Of the 187 total participants, 146 students completed surveys about their experiences. They were asked questions about skills they acquired, thoroughness and clarity of information provided, and likelihood of event recommendation to peers. The survey results were overwhelmingly positive with each question receiving an average score of at least 4.7 out of a maximum score of 5.
Last summer, PSECU and Harrisburg Academy announced a partnership to support student needs. In addition to PSECU membership eligibility for the entire Harrisburg Academy community – students, staff, faculty, and family - through the five-year agreement, PSECU will provide Harrisburg Academy with financial education resources, like the Financial Reality Fair, and $15,000 in scholarship assistance.
About Harrisburg Academy
Established in 1784, Harrisburg Academy is the 17th oldest non-public school in the nation and Harrisburg’s only independent school. Our coed, diverse school community inspires students from age three through 12th grade by providing an academically challenging and globally minded liberal arts education focused on dynamic classroom experiences, strong student outcomes, and a commitment to character development. The Academy proudly stands as the first school in the greater Harrisburg area to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma program and merit scholarship. For more information, visit harrisburgacademy.org.
Opened in 1934, PSECU was founded by 22 ordinary people who made an extraordinary commitment to each other: To create a financial institution where pooled resources benefit all members. Today, we are a full-service credit union serving more than 450,000 members and have over $5 billion in assets. As a not-for-profit financial institution, our goal remains to help our members and their families achieve a better life. For more information about PSECU, visit psecu.com. View our Community Report Card to learn how we contribute to the greater good.