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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

iGrad’s Budget and Smart Spending tutorial helps SJVC students learn money management

September 25, 2018

This summer, 10 SJVC campuses participated in the launch of iGrad, an online portal and in-class tutorial offered to students enrolled in all programs that teaches practical financial tips and skills. The lessons provide information on things like how to save money, handle finances and create easy-to-manage budgets.

Promoted through the Financial Literacy Department, the online course and classroom counterpart are both easy to access. The classroom workshops are held in classrooms and campus libraries in a series of 30-minute workshops over five weeks.

A total of 154 students from several SJVC campuses enrolled the first month the tutorial was introduced. Weekly topics included subjects such as student debt, banking basics, smart spending, creating budgets, and credit scores and what they mean.

“We teach students about financial aid, student loans and grants – giving them practical information about how much they owe and to whom they make payments,” says Sherry Lovelace, Financial Literacy Specialist for the Fresno, Visalia and Hanford campuses. “Students that participated were able to apply their newly learned knowledge and assess their financial wellness.”

Financial stability weighs in on just about every major decision people make throughout their lives. A good understanding of money in and money out provides a solid framework from which to make safe and reasoned financial decisions.

“When I walk through the iGrad portal with students who haven’t been on it before, I highlight different areas,” says Sherry. “The one they really seem to love is the budget tool. It is a hands-on tool that allows you to use a scroll bar to set it to your specific needs. It’s basic survival information tied to finances that they can save and update every month.”

It has been a learning experience for everyone. “[iGrad] provides students with courses, tools, games, webinars, calculators and tons of information that make it fun to learn, and it’s so valuable for them in terms of managing their finances and their lives,” says Sherry.

Group discussions about financial “wants” vs. financial “needs,” spending habits, saving money for emergencies and how to determine what is affordable, are immediately valuable to most everyone.

New students are introduced to the iGrad portal and given the option to enroll in online or classroom workshops during orientation. The workshops serve as not only an opportunity to understand their student loan obligation more thoroughly, but the groundwork is set for students to gain a broader knowledge of all their financial undertakings.

“During enrollment, students are bombarded with so much information and are talking with so many different people that we want to go over it all again for their clarity,” says Sherry. “They can also request a one-on-one meeting at any time to answer any specific questions they might have.”

Students who signed up for the workshops were especially interested in managing their debts and determining monthly budgets. “I hear nothing but good things about it from students,” says Sherry. “The feedback has been great.  They love having all of this information at their fingertips, and they do plan on using it regularly.”

SJVC students are continuing to enroll in iGrad every day. It provides a learning tool that impacts the financial life, buying power understanding, and choices and peace of mind of all who attend.