Each semester, we hold Financial Reality Fairs on college campuses to help students gain real-world, hands-on budgeting experience.
At these events, students are assigned a salary based on their intended career path and the level of education they’re planning to pursue. They then visit about 15 stations that represent financial responsibilities and expenses they’ll face after graduation. These stations range from housing and transportation to student loans to pets and charitable donations.
At each station, they’re presented with choices related to each expense – do they want to live in an apartment on their own or will they move back in with family to save money? Will they cook most of their meals at home or will they dine out often?
When students have completed the stations, they have a chance to talk to a professional one-on-one about the choices they’ve made. Together, they crunch the numbers and determine if they were over, under, or right on track for their budget and talk about strategies for balancing their budget better.
We survey participants at each event and, as reflected in this video, get overwhelmingly positive feedback from students about the quality of the event and concepts they can carry into their real lives.
These events are conducted in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Credit Union Foundation.