Money matters

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Rebecca Byers

The Corsair

Are you looking to improve your finances? Well, here is your chance. The official theme for Pensacola State College this year is “Money Matters.”  Rachelle Burns, the director of Student Support Services at PSC, is also the chair for the Financial Literacy Committee who came up with the theme. The Web site for Money Matters was launched in August and is still accessible.

“We are about two-thirds of the way through our year of Money Matters,” said Burns who hopes to make Money Matters Week an annual event because “it was very successful.”

The idea behind it was to create a signature event that would draw the focus and attention to the theme, the Financial Literacy theme. According to Burns, they have found out that a lot of schools are doing something like Money Matters, so they wanted to get everyone’s attention by doing several activities.

There were activities on three PSC campuses, such as Ask the Expert panel and a  Higher One workshop conducted by the Cashier’s Office.

The Higher One workshop talked about how to properly use your Higher One card, what the account is and how to avoid fees.

The Ask the Expert panel had four speakers and was an opportunity for students to ask financial experts questions about their finances or financial principles in general.

“We had two people from the world of banking, one person from SunTrust and one person from BBVA Compass. We also had a person who owns his own financial strategy company,” Burns said.

Kenneth Mcelroy, the peer mentor at Student Support Services, attended two of the Money Matters workshops.

“Well, first, it was a requirement of the Student Support Services program, but when I found out that the course focused on money saving tips and budgeting … I was curious and really wanted to learn more about the course and now I use a lot of the tips and actually have been able to save some money,” Mcelroy said.

The FLC is also tied together with AmeriCorps and a judicial project. The judicial project focuses on people who are in danger of losing their kids. They go through the judicial project and through a financial literacy program in order to improve their financial skills so they wouldn’t lose their kids. The Money Matters course developed by PSC Professor Dr. Debra Ryals is what is being used in this joint venture.

The Cash Course resource that has also been a mainstay of the FLC has been online since 2010. It is free and anyone who can access the internet can use it.

In 2011, the FLC gave focus to Cash Course and tried to get as many people as possible to use it. According to Burns, in 2011, PSC was the top community college for traffic on their site.

“We are very proud that we are one of the colleges around the country that have used Cash Course most successfully!” Burns said.

The fall workshops continue and are the main focus for the rest of the year.  The Web site has a lot of resources on it and will continue to be available and updated, including a Topics of the Week feature.

The FLC wants Money Matters to be ongoing. According to Burns, they will continue with Money Matters into 2013 given its success and the importance of this topic to students.

“The workshops helped me a lot and they gave me a lot of techniques on budgeting money. The best one was figuring out how on Monday to fix a lunch that you can spread through the week so you don’t have to buy lunches here or at Subway on campus. That saved me about $20 a week,” Mcelroy said.

If you would like more information about the workshops, Money Matters, or Cash Course, you can contact Rachelle Burns at or by calling 484-1817.


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