Setting financial goals is a common New Year’s resolution.
Students and community members served by the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Fond du Lac and Fox Cities campuses can take steps to accomplish their financial resolutions through a series of free credit and non-credit courses this spring supported by a grant from The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America.
Guardian Life has created alliances with community colleges nationwide, including the two access campuses of UW Oshkosh, to improve financial literacy as part of its Money Management for Life program.
The local partnership began in 2014 at the UWO Fox Cities campus with a three-credit outreach course on personal finance open to college students, high school students and community members. The scope of the grant recently was expanded to offer the same free course as part of the credit outreach curriculum at the Fond du Lac campus.
Earn credits and a strong financial future
The personal finance course helps students develop strategies for managing money today and in the future through topics, such as budgeting, time value of money, saving strategies, managing debt, consumer credit and insurance. During the spring 2020 semester, personal finance is offered 4:30 to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays through the UWO Fond du Lac campus and on Wednesdays through the UWO Fox Cities campus in Menasha. Instruction begins the week of Feb. 3.
Students who successfully complete the course are eligible for tuition reimbursement, including the cost of textbooks. The course also is open to community members and high school students who want to earn college credit.
Michael Winkler, senior lecturer, teaches the personal finance class at both campuses. He encourages students to take the course because of the impact it will have on their future.
“If there’s one college course that has the chance to change the trajectory of a student’s life, career and future, it’s a financial planning course,” he said. “If a student takes this course and doesn’t find the power of the ‘Time Value of Money’ as the most important concept they’ll ever learn, they will have missed the opportunity of a lifetime.”
He often jokes the course should also be cross-listed as a psychology course, because students learn techniques to change how they interact with money, how they view wealth and how they define a full life.
“I get a lot of questions,” he said. “Every question is good, because that means students are thinking about outcomes. The important part I try to get students to understand is that you have the power to determine your outcome. When you want to change an outcome, you must change the inputs. That is what I see this course doing for students, making them ask, ‘What if?’”
Through guest speakers from Guardian Life and other local financial planners and bankers, students also gain a greater understanding of career path options in the insurance and financial services industry.
Free non-credit evening courses
The grant from Guardian Life also will support a series of free non-credit financial planning courses in the evening at the Fond du Lac and Fox Cities campuses this spring. Topics include retirement planning, investing, budgeting and preparing wills and trusts. They are taught by area financial planning experts.
The courses kick off at the Fond du Lac campus with Five Money Questions for Women beginning Jan. 16. At the Fox Cities campus, the first course is Let’s Talk Money, beginning Feb. 24. Other courses are scheduled through May at both campuses.
For more information about enrolling in the three-credit personal finance course, call the continuing education office at either the UWO Fond du Lac campus, (920) 929-1155, or the UWO Fox Cities campus, (920) 832-2636.