Monday, September 5, 2016

Access Committee recognizes University of Michigan: College Wallet Workshop Third Place Access Award Recipient – 2015

Written by Virginia Washington

The Access Committee would like to recognize one of the MASFAA 2015 Award winners in today’s blog. We are featuring the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor and their program “College Wallet Workshop”!

Overview: The “College Wallet Workshop” was successful because the program allowed students to have the opportunity to connect the dots and see in black & white, on paper, a visual reviewing all the expenses they will incur as a college student. Adding to the experience of the event, students could view their college financial aid budget and pay for all their various required college expenses.

Target Group served:  The event targeted students who were admitted as freshman for the fall and came to campus to participate in a summer student support service initiative called “Bridge”. This program helps these students make the transition from high school to higher education.  More often than not, these students are the first in their families to attend college. Participating in the “College Wallet Workshop” provided them with the hands on experience to learn how to manage their finances.

Financial education content covered: The “College Wallet Workshop” taught students the basics of spending money wisely and to make good budgeting choice during their college career.  Students participated in real life college experiences like:

- Purchasing books                                - How to select housing
- Transportation                                     - Getting a job
- Paying Tuition                                     - Covering personal expenses
- Learning to balance your checking account

The event also included life’s “Temptations Station” for the lesson on “wants” vs. “needs” like:

- Starbucks                                - M-Den (apparel)
- Latest/greatest iPhone            - Cable TV –Internet

Interesting highlight:  Students gave some feedback saying the experience was “eye-opening” for them and it really helped.  Some also commented how they should not live the life of luxury now, but spend less and have money for other things that are important for the future. The idea of being frugal is not just to survive college, but it’s also being financially prepared for the road ahead. 

So as the saying goes:  What’s in your “College Wallet”?

Other Ideas:   While the students learned a lot from the event, so did the staff. Session leaders and experts came away with suggestions for working with the Comprehensive Studies program and plan to continue encouraging students to work with the financial aid staff to develop a college budget, talk through wise borrowing habits and persuade students to consider taking a one credit hour financial literacy course to further enhance their knowledge.  

Congratulations to the University of Michigan on winning the Third Place Access Award for 2015. U of Michigan won $250 to continue to grow and develop the College Wallet program.

To learn more about the College Wallet – Check the U of Michigan webpage at

Interested in nominating your financial education program for the 2016 Access Award?
Check out the Access Award application at MASFAA website and apply by September 9, 2016. Winners will for the 2016 Access Award will be announced at the MASFAA Conference in Kansas City, MO – October 2-5, 2016. 

If you have questions, contact Angela Johnson, Access Chair at or (216) 987-4213.

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