By KIM BLACK
Amarillo College has partnered with iGrad to empower students to be more financially literate and more capable of managing their money.
“In the past, we’ve offered live group sessions, with a Zoom presenter, and the students can ask questions,” Trent Oneal, intramural sports coordinator and career coach, said.
The new virtual sessions can be accessed through iGrad.com. The student can set up a financial profile and select topics that address their specific concerns. Interactive tools guide users through lessons on money management and paying for school. Sessions also include savings, investments, insurance needs, budgets and others.
The iGrad program allows students to learn at their own pace, using whichever format is more comfortable, including games, videos, webinars, quizzes, chat and forums, according to Oneal.
The career services department at AC has several resources to help students become more financially literate, including the TexasRealityCheck.com site with its free lifestyle calculator. A student can input where they live and their lifestyle information, and the tool shows the approximate annual income required to maintain that lifestyle.
“Our goal is to help students learn and make wise choices,” Oneal said.
“I’m a horrible money manager. I was never taught in school. I feel like I would be further along if I had the proper tools. And now I’m trying to teach my kids about money,” Breanna Glover, a business technology systems major, said.
The students’ average age at AC is 26. Saving for retirement isn’t something most students think about, but it’s not too early to plan for the future. “So many of our younger students have no idea what a good salary is. They just lack life experience and perspective,” Oneal said.
These resources help provide a real-life view of what to expect after college. “I feel like I’m pretty secure with my finances. I’m comfortable making my payments on financial aid and books,” Chris Pointer, a business administration major, said. He added that he didn’t have much formal education about loans or investments. “I’ve done some self-research and learned from others’ experiences.”
Students who are interested in live sessions or other career consultations can call Taylor Bingham, Career and Employment Services Coordinator. To set up a personal profile and access the virtual sessions, go to igrad.com. All of the offered services are free.