Citrus Heights Sentinel Logo

‘Budget Cents’ program teaches financial literacy to local high school students

SAFE Contact Center and Engagement Representative LaTroya Johnson assists a student with a budgeting scenario. // Image credit: SAFE CU

By Sara Beth Williams–
Nearly 200 local high school students last month participated in a program at Mesa Verde High School, designed to teach financial literacy and real-world budgeting.

SAFE Credit Union held the three-hour Budget Cents interactive program on April 27 at Mesa Verde, with certified financial educators facilitating the event. According to a press release, the new “gamified” program is designed to “challenge students to manage budgets during real-life scenarios.”

“It gave [students] a wake-up call as to how much it actually costs for them to live on their own and budget responsibly,” Mesa Verde’s Vice Principal Andrea Leuschen said following the event, adding that the students were able to walk around, interact with, and collaborate with each other so that the workshop did not feel like an assignment.

SAFE spokeswoman Robyn​ Slagle‑Eifertsen told The Sentinel that actual costs were utilized from the Sacramento area, such as food, housing, and transportation costs. Through the game format, students were provided with an income and regular expenses — and then had to deal with random costs like unexpected repairs.

SAFE has recently facilitated the Budget Cents program at other Sacramento-area high schools and has 30 more sessions booked through the remainder of 2023.

Financial literacy classes for students are not currently required for graduation from high school by the State of California, but a new assembly bill is seeking to change that.

Assembly Bill 984, a financial literacy bill introduced in February 2023, passed with a 7-0 unanimous bipartisan vote in the State Assembly’s Committee on Education last month.

According to the bill’s summary, AB 984 would require California high school students to complete one semester course in financial literacy in order to graduate, beginning with the class of 2028-29.

Like local news? Sign up for The Sentinel’s free email edition and get two emails a week with all local news and no spam, ever. (Click here)