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UT Credit Union among those promoting high school financial literacy

Knoxville-based UT Federal Credit Union is partnering with the National Endowment for Financial Education and The University of Tennessee Extension to promote the High School Financial Planning Program, a national public-service initiative designed to provide classroom tools to help teachers enhance the financial literacy of their students.

“With Americans under the age of 25 filing for bankruptcy faster than any other age group, the need for high school curricula focused on personal finance issues has never been more imperative,” Debbie Jones, UT Federal Credit Union CEO, said. “It’s because of staggering statistics like this that U-T Federal Credit Union has structured its philosophy in support of the financial well being of its members.”

UT Federal Credit Union is a member of the Credit Union National Association, a premier national trade association serving America’s credit unions. It is through CUNA’s national partnership with NEFE that UT Federal Credit Union is able to wholeheartedly support the financial education initiative. “High school is our last, best chance to prepare most young adults to make the independent decisions that can mean financial stability for them and their future dependents,” Philip Heckman, director of youth programs for CUNA’s Center for Personal Finance, said. “That’s why I consider the efforts of U-T Federal Credit Union to teach the essentials of personal finance to be life-saving.”

HSFPP provides teachers with an instructor’s workbook that outlines seven core competencies: Your Financial Plan; Budgeting; Investing; Good Debt, Bad Debt; Your Money: Keeping it Safe and Secure; Insurance; and Your Career. 

This past summer, The University of Tennessee Extension hosted six-day workshops across the state. More than 60 teachers were trained for the program — a figure that translates into more than 2,000 students-impressions throughout the school year.

“H-S-F-P-P is easy to implement into the classroom and can be completed in as few as 16 hours,” Dr. Ann Berry, assistant professor for The University of Tennessee, said. “Research shows as little as 10 hours of personal finance education can make a positive impact.

“If teachers are able to reach high school students with this information before they are out on their own, maybe we can help prevent them from making some poor financial decisions.”

The program meets the standards outlined by the state of Tennessee for financial education, as well as for math, economics and family/consumer sciences. The instructor’s manual gives detailed lesson plans for either a 45- or 90-minute scheduling block. As a performance-based curriculum, the program provides measurable results with student assessments.

In addition, there is also online support to provide interactive games, PowerPoint presentations, a student’s portal and even a parent’s portal. All materials are free of charge to both teachers and students.

“Because the H-S-F-P-P was designed with all these user-friendly features, it seems only logical that our local financial institutions take the initiative to ensure this exceptional resource is placed directly in the hands of our school’s teachers,” Jones said.

Teachers interested in learning more about the training program may contact Berry at 865-974-8198 or

Other local credit unions interested in joining UT Federal Credit Union in their support for the High School Financial Planning Program can contact NEFE for more information online at To speak with someone from UT Federal Credit Union, contact Ka Small at 865-292-0112 or


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