CU 4 Reality honored for ed. efforts with 2016 Wegner Award

October 13, 2015

MADISON, Wis. (10/13/15)--CU 4 Reality, a financial literacy program for middle and high school students offered by America’s Credit Union Museum, will receive the 2016 Herb Wegner Memorial Outstanding Program Award in February, the National Credit Union Foundation announced last week.

The program, which the museum started in 2004, is being recognized for its efforts to improve financial literacy and responsibility among future consumers.

“We know the impact of financial literacy goes far beyond the number of attendees at a presentation, and CU 4 Reality’s hands-on approach to learning has already shown tremendous success,” said John Gregoire, chair of the awards selection committee and president of The ProCon Group.

More than 87,000 students across nine states have participated in the program. Currently it educates 19,000 students a year and is co-sponsored by more than 60 credit unions and leagues.

CU 4 Reality is offered through collaboration between credit unions and schools in a semester-long curriculum combining traditional lessons with real-world scenarios to communicate the importance of financial responsibility. It covers issues such as budgeting, tax management and career exploration.

The instruction culminates in a CU 4 Reality Financial Literacy Fair, where students test what they learned in a simulation of real-life personal experience. At the fair, students get a job, calculate take-home pay and visit booths to determine monthly expenses while managing unexpected hardships and temptation. Credit union volunteers then review their performance and offer strategies to increase revenue or reduce expenses.

The program is not a single, uniform curriculum for all schools but is developed by local teachers and credit unions. That flexibility “makes it popular among educators in several local schools where we bring a memorable financial literacy experience to our future members,” said John R. Young, president/CEO of New Hampshire FCU, Concord.

According to New Hampshire Deputy Bank Commissioner Ingrid E. White, the department regularly sends its staff to serve as volunteers for the events and supports the program’s goal. Also, businesses such as Best Buy, Kohl’s, Planet Fitness and Comcast provide products and services for the simulation.

The program is one of four Wegner Memorial awards to be presented Feb. 22 at a foundation-hosted dinner during CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference Feb. 21-25 in Washington, D.C. Registration will be available in the next month on the foundation’s website.