Have You Heard About the Free Personal Finance Classes We’re Offering Through OppU?
Whether you’re a student in need of financial education or a teacher looking for standards-aligned financial literacy curriculum, OppU is here to help.
Hey there, did you know that April is National Financial Literacy Month? Well, around here, it’s one of our favorite times of the year, because helping people understand the ins and outs of sound financial behaviors is a huge part of our mission as a socially responsible finance platform!
That’s why we wanted to let you know a little bit more about the free (repeat: free!) financial literacy classes we’re offering through OppU. If you’re someone looking to learn how to build your first budget—or a teacher searching for a smart, engaging curriculum to use with your students—OppU is just the thing for you!
Money is complex. OppU brings it back to basics.
Money seems simple at first. You get a paycheck and you use that money to pay your bills, buy groceries, and do some fun stuff like go to the movies. But it’s actually way more complicated than that!
Responsible financial behavior means building up savings to protect you when an unexpected bill or financial emergency strikes; it means using loans and credit cards wisely to avoid taking on excess debt, and it means maintaining a good credit score so that future financial opportunities remain open.
Doing all of that isn’t easy! Building and sticking to a budget requires discipline and shopping around for the best credit cards means learning a little bit of patience. But before you can do any of that, you first need to grasp the basics of how using money actually works.
That’s a key cornerstone of OppU: Breaking down personal finance into its basic building blocks. That way, we can give you the tools you need to start building a better financial future.
Charting your OppU journey.
Just like a university, OppU is broken down into four different levels: freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior.
OppU utilizes instruction videos and quizzes to not only engage learners but to make sure that the information they’re gathering is being retained. Once you create an account, your progress and course completions are tracked.
Freshman level starts with spending, where you’ll learn how to take control of your income and manage your expenses. The first video covers how to track income versus expenses, while the second covers the importance of living below your means.
Sophomore level covers budgeting and saving. In these courses, you learn the basics of building a budget to keep track of your money and how to put money aside to stop living paycheck to paycheck.
Junior level concerns all things credit, which is why it’s the longest unit. Courses in this unit cover how credit scores and credit reports work, ways to maintain and improve your credit, as well as an intro to credit cards and how they differ from debit cards.
Senior level finishes off the OppU curriculum by talking about debt and loans. The first course walks students through the basics of how debt works, while the second course provides helpful tools and financial advice to help students reduce their outstanding debt loads.
OppU is aligned with national standards.
From the very beginning, OppU has been about providing both students and educators with courses that weren’t simply engaging and easy to follow, but that were teaching the skills and lessons students need to know.
That’s why the OppU curriculum was developed in accordance with the national standards for financial literacy published by the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy (@NatlJumpStart). Each course not only teaches concrete skills, but they also align with Jump$tart’s financial education guidelines.
Two educators were instrumental in the development of OppU’s curriculum: Beth Tallman, MBA, and Ann Logue, MBA, CFA. Ms. Tallman taught “Personal Finance for Millennials” at Oberlin College, while Ms. Logue teaches finance at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
If you’re a teacher and you want to use OppU in your classroom, our educator’s guide is available to download and print.
Have questions? We’ve got OppU Answers!
Looking for material? Well, OppU has got you covered. Beyond its core curriculum, OppU also features the OppU Answers personal finance blog, which covers financial literacy and other related financial topics.
Here are some of our favorite posts:
Are you not quite sure what financial literacy actually entails? Then check out Financial Literacy: A Definition, which includes insight from seven different financial literacy experts and program leaders.
If you want to get your young children started on the road to fiscal responsibility, then head on over to Financial Literacy for Kids. This post covers six core financial concepts to teach your children and a helpful list of outside educational resources.
Cash-strapped millennials (are there any other kind?) should check out Financial Literacy for Millennials, a post that’s full of helpful tips and advice to help Generation Y get their financial houses in order.
And finally, recent and soon-to-be college grads should be on the lookout for future behavior that could tank their score. According to a recent OppU survey, seven in ten college students damage their credit soon after graduation.
Apply for the OppU Achiever’s Scholarship!
If you’re a current or soon-to-be student who needs help paying for school, we want to let you know about the OppU Achievers Scholarship.
Awarded four times a year, this scholarship grants $2,500 for current or future education costs. On an annual basis, the scholarship awards a total of $10,000 to students who have demonstrated outstanding achievement.
Applying is easy! Aside from some basic information, all you need to do is submit a short essay responding to the following prompt:
In 500 words or fewer, please tell us why you’re an achiever. How have you created opportunity for yourself? How have you created opportunity for others? Did you start a small business? Are you the founder of a community program? How did you overcome the odds and make your dreams—or the dreams of others—come true? Please include links to any relevant material that demonstrates your accomplishments.
Decisions are based solely on the applicant’s essay. For an idea of what our review committee is looking for, take a look at these scholarship essay examples from past recipients.
Applicants must be enrolled full time in high school or at least part-time in college, graduate, professional, or trade school and possess a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0/4.0.
Winners are selected four times a year. The deadlines for submission are March 31, June 30, September 30, and December 31. If you want to apply for the OppU Achievers Scholarship, click here!
Did we mention that OppU is free?
If you have money questions and you aren’t sure where to turn, give OppU’s standards-aligned courses a try. It won’t cost you anything, and it could be the first step you take on the long road to a brighter financial future.
Stay up to date with all things OppU by following them on Twitter at @OppUniversity. And to learn more about financial best practices, check out these other posts and articles from OppLoans:
- Building Your Financial Life: Budgeting for Beginners
- From Budget to Baller: 6 Tips to Grow Your Money
- 10 Good Money Habits to Make Your Friends Jealous
- Save More Money with These 40 Expert Tips