Kaplan University in Hagerstown offers day of dollars and sense

October 19, 2011|By ANDREW SCHOTZ |
  • Scindy Martin of Dargan listens to Wells Fargo representative Cliff John talk about identity theft protection at Kaplan University's Financial Fair on Wednesday.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

Financial know-how doesn't come naturally to everyone.

So, on Wednesday, Kaplan University in Hagerstown invited some specialists to campus to share their wisdom.

Lisa Copenhaver, the school's dean of student affairs, said students can benefit by learning about identity theft, budgeting, building a good credit score and balancing a checkbook.

Fourteen institutions in the financial realm sent representatives to the campus. Students were invited to stop at their tables, talk and listen.

Copenhaver said it helped to have the information in one place, saving students from having to seek it out on their own.

Kaplan University has held community awareness days, in which local nonprofit organizations talk to students, but this was the first day focused on financial literacy, she said.

Luke J. Becker, a certified financial planner for Woodsboro Bank Investments, said he talked to students about retirement planning.

Many people act on their wants, but forget to think about their needs, he said.

"One of the biggest challenges we face is saving," Becker said.

PNC offers a "foundations class" on the basics of banking for people thinking of opening an account, said Karen Michael, the assistant manager of the PNC bank branch on Pennsylvania Avenue in Hagerstown.

The bank also has "second chance" accounts for people who have had financial problems. They aren't allowed to withdraw more than $100 from an ATM or spend more than $100 a day with a debit card.

After taking the class and having six months in good standing, those customers can switch to a regular account, Michael said.

Donna Miller told students about iGrad, a free online community of financial literacy tools, articles, videos and more.

Miller, the company's director of business development, said students and recent graduates learn about banking, identity theft, credit disputes and credit scores, among other topics.

The company also has a fee-based service in which schools can customize the website for their students. About 30 schools are customers, she said.

Michael said she learned basics of finance while attending Boonsboro High School, but "a lot of the younger generation" doesn't get the same lessons in school or elsewhere.

That includes cursive writing, which used to be a standard lesson in school. Without it, students have trouble signing a check, Michael said.

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