Sponsored by:
Penn State University
Pennsylvania Department of Education

Financial Literacy and Economic Education Information for Pennsylvania Educators
June 2016
A Note from the Project Director

While summer is typically equated with rest, relaxation, and fun, we know most educators do much more than just recharge their batteries over the summer months.

Whether you are reflecting on the courses and students you taught over the year or making substantial curriculum changes, you are forever honing your craft.

In that spirit, this summer eBlast offers information on a new tool for teaching teen drivers about auto insurance, summer professional development opportunities for which you can still sign up, information about upcoming changes to the FAFSA process, and news of a PA teacher given national recognition. 

In addition,
you'll find information to help you review or implement a high school personal finance course in your school or district. If you are reviewing your financial education programs this summer and want help, please do not hesitate to reach out. I'm happy to offer any assistance that I can.

Also, in the coming school year, if you wish to schedule an in-person or virtual financial education training session, please be in touch. The Making Cents Project will be expanding its efforts this year and providing more local assistance. Finally, I'd like to start a regularly scheduled financial education Twitter chat during the school year. If you have ideas about timing, topics, or ways to garner participation, please send me an email

Meanwhile, I extend my best wishes for a wonderful summer!

Hilary Hunt
Director, The Making Cents Project

teendrivingNew Auto Insurance Teaching Module for Teen Drivers 

Insurance 101 for Teen Drivers  is an interactive classroom presentation module that helps drivers' education and middle and high school financial literacy teachers show and tell teens how bad driving decisions negatively impact auto insurance costs. 

The 55-minute program includes three segments: a lecture to define basic insurance terms; a demonstration of how to request a quote; and an interactive  It's Your Choice  decision-making game. 

Presentation materials include an animated PowerPoint® , an auto insurance terms handout, a worksheet for use during the game, and a combined multiple-choice and fill-in-the-blank quiz.

The program is available free of charge on Insure U - an online resource from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), at http://teendrivers.insureuonline.org/. On the site, teachers will also find a Teen Driver's Contract and information about NAIC's WreckCheck app which helps those in an accident know what to do - and what NOT to do. 

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department partnered with NAIC to develop and field-test the module. Teachers with questions about the materials are invited to contact David Buono, Consumer Liaison with the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, at 717.772.4335 or dbuono@pa.gov

frbpdFederal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia to Offer Economics Across the Curriculum Program
Professional Development
The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia is partnering with the American Institute for Economic Research to offer an innovative three-day professional development program from August 2 - 4. The Economics Across the Curriculum program will encourage the integration of economic concepts into various disciplines and is designed to help high school teachers from many disciplines, including social studies, English language arts, math, and fore ign languages, develop a cross-disciplinary approach to actively engage students and incorporate economics concepts into their own classes. Teams of teachers from individual schools are highly encouraged to attend.

Participants must complete an online module prior to starting the course. During the program, economic education experts will cover topics such as money and inflation, business cycles and unemployment, and government in the economy. Program participants will work in groups to develop new lesson ideas for teaching economic concepts in their classrooms in multidisciplinary settings.

The program syllabus is available on AIER's website
  • When: August 2-4, 2016; 8:00 a.m. - 4: 30 p.m.
  • Where: Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, 7th and Arch Streets, Philadelphia, PA
  • Who: High school educators
  • Credit: Participants will receive either 38 hours of Act 48 credit or can opt to register for three graduate credits from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. (Graduate credit requires payment of separate $300 fee.)
  • Registration Fee: $50 (Registration fee includes breakfast and lunch daily and all curriculum materials.)
  • Registration Link: here

In addition to this new program, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia is also offering its well-established and highly regarded Making Sense of Money and Banking course from July 18 - 22. Registration is due by July 11 and can be completed online. You can also watch a video about the course. 

ModelCourseModel Personal Finance Course for Pennsylvania High Schools
Professional Resource

A team of Pennsylvania educators has developed an excellent tool for high school teachers that have or are starting a course in personal finance. 

The Model Personal Finance Course for Pennsylvania High Schools provides a detailed framework for a standalone, one-semester course divided into six modules. The course can serve as either a "springboard" or a "ruler."  Districts that are just starting to develop a course can use the course as a springboard or jumping off point and avoid countless hours trying to start from scratch. Meanwhile, schools with an established standalone or integrated course, can use the course as a means of comparing objectives and locating new instructional resources. 

The course is available online through the Pennsylvania Department of Education's Standards Aligned System (login required) or in PDF form. If you need assistance in using the course, please contact Hilary Hunt with The Making Cents Project at hilary@makingcentspa.org

Expand Your Knowledge
FAFSA®, short for Free Application for Federal Student Aid is the form college students must complete to see if they are eligible for federal student aid. Student aid may be in the form of a grant, work-study, or a loan. If the student is a dependent on their parent's income tax return, parental income tax information is needed to complete the FAFSA. If the student is totally independent (e.g. graduate student, emancipated minor) or a returning adult student, their income tax information is used on the FAFSA.

Upcoming Timing Changes
Completing the FAFSA form may be confusing, especially the first time. Starting with the 2016-2017 application cycle, the pressure to file the tax return early in the filing season will not be a concern because the  prior year's tax return can be used. In addition, starting with the 2017-18 cycle, the application can be filed starting in  October instead of January.  
July 1, 2016 -
June 30, 2017
2016-17 Jan. 1, 2016 -
June 30, 2017
July 1, 2017 -
June 30, 2018
2017-18 Oct. 1, 2016 -
June 30, 2018
July 1, 2018 -
June 30, 2019
2018-19 Oct. 1, 2017 -
June 30, 2019

Understanding the language used on the FAFSA application may be aided by using  the glossary of terms  f ound on the FAFSA website.
Students who want to be considered for state or university specific aid should also find out those deadlines as they may be different from the FAFSA application deadline.  Tons of information about FASA can be found on the   U. S. Department of Education Federal Student Aid website .

AskFAFSA Office Hours
Getting answers to your FAFSA questions may only be a tweet away. Below are upcoming days (all Wednesdays) during which you can get your questions answered through a live tweet event.  Each session is held from 5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. EST. Questions can be submitted in advance using the hashtag  #AskFAFSA. For more information on each day's office hours, go to  http://twitter.com/FAFSA.

Upcoming #AskFAFSA Live Tweet Sessions
June 29
July 27
August 31
Spread the Word
Extend the reach of this information. Please share it with students and parents with soon-to-be college bound students. Consider partnering with your school's guidance office or administration to get the word out. 
C Bowen

colemanPennsylvania Educator Gains National Recognition

Colonial School District teacher, Paul Coleman, was recognized as Visa Practical Money Skills for Life's Innovative Educator for the month of June 2016. Mr. Coleman has been teaching business and sports management classes for 14 years and most recently a Personal Finance course for the past seven years at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School. 

Mr. Coleman also uses interactive and relevant resources to reach his students. He uses competitive games such as Financial Football and Visa's World Cup-themed-Financial Soccer games to increase students' interest level and interaction when learning about budgeting, saving, credit reports and the wise use of credit. "Combining sports with the subject they're learning increases engagement, he says.

His Personal Finance course is broken down into subjects such as career, budgeting, salary and retirement. Although Mr. Coleman first started with more traditional teaching methods such as vocabulary lessons and exams, he realized that there were more effective ways to teach the topics. Coleman adopted a project-based learning strategy to help students understand subjects by making the content more realistic, practical and engaging. His course focuses on projects that teach students how to create a budget, plan for retirement, and assess what they would be able to afford if they chose their desired career path. "The projects make it real for students. They are put in a position to do their own research and collaborate with someone in the class," he said.

As an educator, Mr. Coleman tries to make his lessons as real as possible and connect with the students. "It's not just about taking a test or memorizing definitions," he says. "I want to leave my students with the tools that will prepare them to make decisions for the rest of their lives," said Mr. Coleman.

Mr. Coleman and other teachers at Plymouth Whitemarsh are trying to make the course a requirement in the next few years and increase the number of classes taught at the high school. "I hope schools make the course a requirement. There's no other subject quite like this, because it impacts every person," says Coleman. He believes that the course should be taught to 10th or 11th graders when kids are 16 or 17 and working for the first time and thinking about college.

Many former students have told Mr. Coleman that his is the most useful and practical class they have taken in high school. "It takes a change in thinking, but as people become more educated, a lot of financial issues can be avoided by a little education and understanding," says Coleman. 

Congratulations for Mr. Coleman for this recognition. If you or someone you know is an innovative financial educator, nominations for the Visa Practical Money Skills designation are accepted on an ongoing basis here.

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About this Message 

Making Cents is a cooperative effort by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania State University. If you find the content useful, please consider forwarding it to your colleagues. 

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Team Members:

Sally Flaherty, PDE

Cathy F. Bowen, PSU

Hilary Hunt, The Making Cents Project

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