Student loan debt encourages kids to manage money early
BLACK EARTH (WKOW) — Students of the Wisconsin Heights School District are getting lessons in financial literacy to avoid defaulting on student loans in the future.
Student loan delinquency has hit a record high of 11.8 percent, up from 10.9 last quarter, according to latest data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. In all, American students owe $1.27 trillion in student loans.
Some high school students are already worrying they may buckle under the impending burden.
“It seems like it’s a really easy thing to get in debt and really hard thing to get out of. I’m worried I won’t manage my money well, or I’ll just be in debt my whole life,” Emily, a Wisconsin Heights junior, said.
Business economics teacher Dave Haas teaches his high school students and seventh graders about the value of the dollar using financial literacy software called Banzai.
“I believe all kids should start learning at an early age. It’s important for them to understand where their money is going. It’s something that I never got when I was a kid in high school,” Haas said.
The program, provided to classrooms for free by the Dane County Credit Union, introduces kids to basic bank accounts, teaches them how to calculate credit card interest, and provides exercises in how to budget their money.
“Because it’s an online program, it speaks to teenagers. It gives them real life scenarios, and it’ll help them in their futures so they don’t end up in financial crisis,” Bonnie Rosenmeier, of Dane County Credit Union, said.
Rosenmeier says another worry students have is about managing credit cards later.
“Credit cards are so easy to get and they don’t understand what that means. They don’t really understand that they have to pay this back,” Rosenmeier said.
Emily admits that before the class, she did not understand how loan and credit card repayments worked, saying, “Now I kind of understand it better, and it’s not just free money.”
Teachers interested in using the Banzai program can visit teachbanzai.com or call 888-8-BANZAI.