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Virtual Credit for Life

Institution for Savings - Newburyport, Massachusetts

2021 Community Commitment Awards Submission

  • Entry Category: Financial Education
  • Asset Size: Small

Virtual Credit for Life (www.creditforlife.org) is a responsive website experience offered to Massachusetts high schools to teach students about budgeting and money management.It is based on the Credit for Life Fair, a half day inperson event where students assume the roles of 25-year-old adults and spend their paychecks on everything they will need to live.Many banks in MA and elsewhere hosted these events pre-COVID and 2020 would have been the IFS's 10 year offering this to 1000 students in 11 north shore high schools.The pandemic brought these events to a halt. While we attempted to offer a similar experience remotely, participation was down. We then reached out to Andover High School who did same to see if we could collaborate on a virtual experience given the unlikelihood of in-person events.We included non-profit FitMoney.org and then reached out to 7 other MA banks who had done fairs in the past: Cape Cod 5, HarborOne, Rockland Trust, The Savings Bank, Westfield Bank, BayCoast Bank & Country Bank. We pooled our financial resources and hired a developer, Stackpole & Partners, who developed the site. To use, students log in using a school access code, pick a profession and then visit 10 'checkpoints' to purchase what they need to live as adults using monthly salaries, savings and credit. A chat function at each checkpoint manned by remote volunteers is available for questions.At the end all students are required to chat with a volunteer at My Budget Review to see how they did. This spring 41 events were held in MA high schools.Version 2.0 is in progress for 2021-22 school year to include both responsve website and in-person app applications should inperson events be allowed.It is free to schools; banks who wish to sponsor schools pay a fee, with all fees going towards future versions & maintenance.