Students, Parents Attend Money Management Class

Feb 15th, 2009 | By | Category: 20-3: Tribal Athletes Fight for Their Place, Tribal College News

(Reprinted by permission from USA Funds Education Access Report)

Ed Curtis sees his role at Diné College (DC, Tsaile, AZ) as somewhat of a transition specialist. It’s his job – and the job of all faculty and staff members – to help students learn the skills they need to succeed at four-year universities as well as in the world outside the reservation. A key part of his strategy is USA Funds® Life Skills®, a financial literacy program designed to teach students to manage their money and time wisely while in school and after graduation.

“I really like the practical concept of it,” says Curtis, a student development specialist who helps recruit, advise, counsel, and provide career development services to the college’s 2,000 students. “USA Funds Life Skills focuses on how to save money and use money wisely, not just when students are in school but throughout their whole lives.”

Curtis, who grew up on the 26,000-square-mile reservation and has worked at the college for 25 years, explains that education about the concept of saving money is not a focus in the Native American culture. “Everyone pitches in where necessary. If there’s a need to contribute to your family or another family, you help out,” he says. “We’re really trying to get across to the youth that money management is important.”

During DC’s student orientation session last fall, over 200 students and parents attended Curtis’s presentation. He now is considering providing workshops on campus as part of a student success class and as part of his summer residential program for high school students.

Curtis says most students receive Pell Grants and scholarships through the Navajo Nation. About 50% go on to pursue bachelor’s degrees at state universities in Arizona and New Mexico. “They do well after they leave here. Our campus gives them exposure, and it’s much easier for them to make the transition to a university or other college,” Curtis says.

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