Special Discussion: Incorporating Financial Literacy into Adult Education Programs (Feb. 3 - 14)

To commemorate February as the Financial Aid Awareness month, Financial Literacy and Postsecondary Completion groups are hosting a special discussion from today, February 3rd to Friday, February 14th on ideas and strategies around integrating financial literacy into adult education programs.  During this discussion, we will be joined by adult education program managers, counselors, and teachers from a range of adult education programs who will share their strategies and techniques for incorporating financial literacy and financial planning for college in their programming.

Discussion Schedule

Monday, February 3 – Introductions
What strategies are you currently implementing to incorporate financial literacy in your adult education programs?

Tuesday-Thursday, February 4-6 – Integrating Financial Literacy in the Adult Education Curriculum
Do you use an external curriculum (e.g., FDIC Money Smart) or customized content in your programming?
Are financial literacy concepts integrated into your regular programming (i.e., math class)?  

Friday-Tuesday, February 7-11 – Incorporating Financial Literacy in Career and Counseling Services
Do you deliver one-on-one financial coaching?
Can students access support services and more information related to financial aid and financial literacy with a partner organization? 
Discussion Link - https://community.lincs.ed.gov/discussion/special-discussion-contd-incorporating-financial-literacy-career-and-counseling-services-

Wednesday-Thursday, February 12-13 – Hosting Financial Literacy Workshops for Adult Learners
Do you offer standalone or series of workshops with special guests from financial literacy organizations or community banks?

Friday, February 14 – Concluding Remarks

Guest Experts

Please join me in welcoming the following subject matter experts and guest contributors to the discussion: 

  • Satori Bailey is a Financial Specialist and a Mobility Mentoring and Specialty Services Coordinator at the Crittenden Women’s Union, Boston, MA. Satori teaches Financial Education workshops and provides one-on-one financial coaching to many of the program participants.
  • Mary Lou Friedline has taught ABE/GED, ESL, and Transitioning for 26 years at the PIC in Southwest PA. She is the In-House PD Specialist and is a Certified Reading Specialist. Her program has been using the FDIC Money Smart for many years and also provides financial literacy workshop modules in partnership with a local community bank.
  • Mary “Jeannette” Schultz is a Manager of the Financial Workshops Kits website for the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE).
  • Erica Solis has been one of the key organizational advocates in efforts to integrate financial capability components into service offerings at El Buen Samaritano, a multi-service organization in Austin, TX. Erica completed her master’s in political science from Texas A&M University and is an alumnus of Leadership Austin’s Emerge Program, class of 2009. 

Related Resources

Please take a look at these financial literacy resources. We will showcase these and other resources during the course of the discussion. Do share any resources that you have found helpful on this discussion thread.  

  1. LINCS discussion (from Feb. 2013) on financial aid information and resources geared specifically towards adult studentshttps://community.lincs.ed.gov/discussion/resources-adult-students
  2. FDIC Money Smart – Financial Education Program: http://lincs.ed.gov/professional-development/resource-collections/profile-469
  3. Integration & Innovation: Lessons from Organizations Integrating Asset Building into Social Services: http://lincs.ed.gov/professional-development/resource-collections/profile-705
  4. 40 Money Management Tips Every College Student Should Know: http://lincs.ed.gov/professional-development/resource-collections/profile-704
  5. NEFE Financial Workshop Kits – Family Money Skills: http://lincs.ed.gov/professional-development/resource-collections/profile-123



Please join me in welcoming Georgiana Chevry from the Cambridge Community Learning Center to this discussion. 

Georgiana Chevry is an Education and Career Advisor, Civics Education Coordinator, Outreach Manager, and Metro-North Career Center Representative with Cambridge Community Learning Center (CLC), MA, serving a multi-ethnic and multi-lingual adult population. She coordinates CLC's Financial Literacy workshops for both ESOL and ABE classrooms in partnership with Cambridge Savings Bank, a local community bank.


Hello Everyone,

My name is Georgiana Chevry and it is an honor and pleasure to share in this discussion with you. Thank you to Priyanka, NCTN, and World Education for shining a spotlight on Financial Literacy. So a little bit about me, I hold a masters in higher education administration and have been an educator for over 10 years working with college/university, high school and now adult basic education students, many of whom are first-generation to college. In my current work at the Cambridge Community Learning Center I advise evening students, initiated and coordinated our Financial Literacy program in collaboration Cambridge Savings Bank.


I look forward to sharing my experiences with you and learning from all of you.


Georgiana Chevry

[posted on behalf of Mary Lou Friedline]

Hello everyone! My name is Mary Lou Friedline. I apologize for not being able to post this myself as today new students will be beginning my Career Transitions class, which is housed at our local one-stop, the PA CareerLink at PIC of Westmoreland. Between my classes and a training that I am doing my participation will be a little infrequent but I have provided Priyanka with information and thoughts that I hope will be useful during the course of this discussion.

The mission of the Private Industry Council is  - Building tomorrow’s workforce in southwestern Pennsylvania through early childhood development, employment and training, education, and business services. We support this mission by: Providing assistance to employers to meet their workforce needs; Identifying and removing employment barriers for individuals and families; Committing to a holistic approach in education, empowerment, and lifelong learning. The PIC is interest in financial literacy since we are committed to educating the whole individual. 

I am looking forward to sharing our financial literacy activities with this group.

Mary Lou Friedline
In-House PD Specialist/Adult Education Instructor
PIC of Westmoreland/Fayette, Inc.
Youngwood, PA 

Hello everyone -

It is with great pleasure and honor to be included on this discussion board. I am excited to be a part of this innovative way of sharing resources and tools with a community of practice who truly cares about financial literacy.

I work for an organization called Crittenton Women's Union in Boston MA. Our mission is to transform the course of low-income women's lives so that they can attain economic independence and create better futures for themselves and their families. We do this by a unique combination of direct service programs, independent research, and public advocacy. I will focus most of my discussion around our Mobility Mentoring Services as I believe it's the most relevant to this board. However, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about our other programs.

Our Mobility Mentoring® Services staff and programs—including the groundbreaking, five-year Career Family Opportunity (CFO) program, Mobility Mentoring Centers, and Woman to Woman—promote economic independence among low-income women and their children by offering highly individualized basic skills training, education, and career guidance to homeless and stably housed low-income women and their families. Mobility Mentoring Services is based on our theory of change: the Bridge to Self Sufficiency. The "Bridge" is a comprehensive, multi-faceted approach to fostering economic mobility. The theory describes a person’s advancement from poverty to economic self-sufficiency as a journey across a bridge supported by five critical pillars—family stability, well-being, education and training, financial management, and employment and career management. To successfully cross this bridge and reach economic self-sufficiency, the traveler must attain explicitly defined objectives in each of these five areas. In this way, the Bridge to Self-Sufficiency is a practical tool that staff and participants use to assess their current stage in each area of the Bridge and then identify strengths that will support a participant's long-term goals and obstacles that might inhibit her success.

Now, as for me, I am the Coordinator of our Mobility Mentoring Center in Boston, which provides services to residents of Boston and the surrounding communities. We primarily work with our internal housing guests and provide them Mobility Mentoring across all five pillars of the Bridge as well as provide specialized support around Education, Employment, Well-being, and Finance. We have staff who specialize in each of these areas. Staff teach workshops in their particular specialty area, provide one-to-one coaching, as well as act as consultants to our Case Managers and other direct service staff. The work the Specialists do is always in the context of the Bridge and how each pillar interacts and supports the other pillars.

In addition to the Coordinator role, I am also the Finance Mobility Specialist. My background is actually personal finance. I worked for Fidelity Investments for a couple years before moving into the nonprofit sector. I particularly enjoy bringing the skills and tools that are sometimes taken for granted by those privileged to learn them at an early age to underserved populations. As I am sure everyone here agrees, everyone deserves a healthy and bright financial future and everyone deserves the education and tools to get there.

Thanks, again, for including me in this discussion. I look forward to seeing how this enfolds and being a part of this community of practice.


Satori Bailey


Hello everyone,

My name is Erica Solis and it is an honor to take part in this discussion. I am the Finance Manager at El Buen Samaritano Episcopal Mission in Austin Texas.  El Buen Samaritano is an outreach ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas committed to helping Latino and other families in Central Texas lead healthy, productive and secure lives through high-quality and affordable healthcare, education and financial security services.

El Buen Samaritano is in the very early stages of incorporating financial literacy into our adult education programs. The first step has been surveying our clients to determine what services they are seeking and if they feel they currently have access to said services. Simultaneously we are working to determine what services are already available in the community and how we can connect our clients to those services. Our goal is not to duplicate what other agencies are doing but rather look for opportunities to collaborate with partner agencies and to fill gaps that fall in line with our strategic plan and the needs of our clients.

I look forward to taking part in this interesting discussion and learning from one another.

Erica Solis


Have you used videos in the classroom to talk about financial literacy? There are some excellent videos, in the public domain, that can get this conversation started in the classroom. 

Some examples: 
1. Myths about Financial Aid 
2. Overview of the Financial Aid process 
3. Money Management Mistakes 
4. Good Credit, Bad Credit

What do you think? I will be sharing other examples of financial literacy videos later in the week.   

Do share any videos that you have used in your classroom or program. 

~ Priyanka Sharma 

Hello everyone!

I am the project manager of Grants & Research. My web project is Financial Workshop Kits found at www.financialworkshopkits.org. Financial Workshop Kits is designed to help you effectively teach money management skills to those you serve in your community. Through this site, you have access to workshops, tools, and other resources that can be used separately or together to empower people to make the best financial decisions for their values and unique circumstances. I look forward to participating on this online discussion about financial workshop kits. If you are interested, sign up for the quarterly newsletter at http://www.financialworkshopkits.org/newsletter-signup.aspx. I can also be reached at Jeh@nefe.org.


In the Adult Basic Literacy Education program at Marywood University in Scranton, PA, we incorporate "Integrating Career Awareness in the the ABE & ESOL Classroom" into the curriculum, both in the classroom setting and in tutoring sessions.  Our program is funded by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education so we can offer free GED and ESL classes to eligible community members. 

A goal of the program is to have students enroll in further education or find meaningful work after completing the classes.  To prepare them for that transition, the curriculum guides them through exercises that teach self-awareness, goal-setting, exploring college and career options on the internet, and personal budgeting.  The culminating lessons in the curriculum are Financial Aid Resources, Needs Versus Wants, Tracking Your Money, Creating a Spending Plan, Dealing with Credit Issues, and Career and Education Planning.


Thanks for sharing how you use the Integrating Career Awareness (ICA) curriculum in the classroom and tutoring sessions. Can you share some more information about what level and type of classes use the curriculum to introduce financial literacy topics? How have the students responded to these activities? 

For the groups' benefit, the ICA curriculum activity handouts are available here - http://www.collegetransition.org/publications.icacurriculum.handouts.html

Dear Mary,

I have to admit that this is the first year we are using the ICA curriculum so we haven't really implemented the lessons on finances yet.  So far we have been talking about timelines, self-awareness, planning, and goal setting.  These lessons prepare the students to think about the difference between needs and wants and how to budget.



How have the students reacted to discussing these tricky topics like needs vs. wants with their peers. Is there any sort of discomfort or are the students willing and open to talk about it .If you have ESOL students, how does the cultural context play into this discussion... 


How did Marywood Univeristy go about choosing this particular curriculum? Currently we have ESL classes and are trying to determine how best to integrate financial literacy into our existing programs.  It can be a little daunting when faced with all the options to figure out which one is the right fit.

The ABLE program at Marywood University is funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.  As part of the grant guidelines, they required us to incorporate the ICA curriculum into our program.  The material is designed for classroom use, but as a tutor, I am able to adapt the lessons to individual sessions as well.  In fact, I find that following up a classroom session with a follow-up tutoring session helps the student make sense of the material on a personal level because financial literacy is so much more than simply learning how to add or subtract.  Discussions about finances are tied to a wide range of emotions. 

The ICA curriculum is best suited for advanced level ESL students but can be adapted for middle level students with some extra attention to vocabulary.


If you haven't already done so, check out the new Financial Aid Toolkit, brought to you by the U.S. Department of Education's office of Federal Student Aid (FSA). This site consolidates and organizes FSA resources into a searchable toolkit that can be used by organizations and individuals that interact with, support, or counsel FSA's target audiences.

The toolkit provides access to resources covering the entire financial aid lifecycle from applying for financial aid to repaying student loans and includes documents such as financial aid event materials, presentations, brochures, videos, and sample tweets and Facebook posts. The toolkit also offers professional development information such as training opportunities and resources for self-instruction.

Read the Financial at Toolkit fact sheet to learn more or visit the site at FinancialAidToolkit.ed.gov

Thank you, Priyanka for your announcement on January 13, 2014 about the new toolkit!


Lisa Rhodes

Federal Student Aid




Thanks for drawing our attention to the Financial Aid Toolkit

I would also like to mention an older discussion thread where you curated some valuable resources (https://community.lincs.ed.gov/discussion/resources-adult-students), especially the financial preparation for college checklist (http://studentaid.ed.gov/prepare-for-college/checklists/adult). 


~ Priyanka 

Do you use an external curriculum (e.g., FDIC Money Smart) or customized content in your programming?

Kim Ykema from the Adult Basic Education program at Marywood University has shared how they use Integrating Career Awareness in the ABE & ESOL Classroom curriculum which has lessons like Financial Aid Resources, Needs Versus Wants, Tracking Your Money, Creating a Spending Plan, Dealing with Credit Issues, and Career and Education Planning.

Mary Lou Friedline from PA CareerLink at PIC of Westmoreland, PA uses the FDIC Money Smart curriculum. She says, "Adult learners have limited income and resources. Knowing about, choosing financial tools, and saving and spending are skills we can include in our lessons and activities. The FDIC provides printable and online curriculum http://www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/moneysmart/. Local banks also provide a number of specialty workshops they have developed for use in the community. Adult education programs can readily contact any bank and ask what financial literacy activities they can provide. The goal is not to market the individual bank but to make adults aware that all banks offer a variety of services, many free, that most of us have little knowledge about." 

The Virginia Adult Learning Center has developed a modularized financial literacy curriculum that is focused on adult ESOL learners called Money Talks which is available at http://moneytalks.valrc.org/. Money Talks is a comprehensive, multi-level resource for teaching financial literacy to adult ESOL students that can be used and adapted to fit a wide range of learning situations.

Are financial literacy concepts integrated into your regular programming (i.e., math class)? Do you offer modularized content during classtime that focuses on financial literacy concepts or financial planning for college? 

[posted on behalf of Mary Lou Friedline]

The FDIC provides printable and online curriculum http://www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/moneysmart/The Money Smart modules are all available online and are an excellent free resource. When we plan to introduce one of the modules in the classroom, the vocabulary is printed or written on the board as an introduction and discussed before (used also after) the workshop. The module title is provided before the training. Students brainstorm details they think will be included in the workshop. Later a follow-up activity compares/contrasts their findings. The modules have numerous activities that don’t get completed during the workshop and can be used for reading, writing, and online research activities.

Students have been unsure of the value of the Money Smart workshops until they participate. A few have chosen not to attend. However, the day after the workshop, those who didn’t attend hear the value of the 2 hours from those who did. They don’t miss a second time.

The modules provide an understanding about grants and loans, which aids in completing the FAFSA. Students look at their options for post-secondary education or training with a new viewpoint about the cost. Many will receive an Individual Training Account (ITA) from the one-stop but now have a clearer vision of the true costs of seeking further education and their loan obligations.

Because the managers from Woodforest Bank (local bank that delivers the modules) also talk about employment, students hear an employer’s expectation of how they select individuals to be interviewed and what they hope to hear from a prospective employee. Students say the employer’s viewpoint is one they rarely consider so really appreciate this opportunity.

Hope you find my experience helpful and consider using the Money Smart curriculum in your classroom. 




Most federal student loans have a standard repayment term of 10 years, but there are many flexible repayment options that will change the monthly payment amount. Use the Repayment Estimator, previously only available through StudentLoans.gov for borrowers with loans, is now available through StudentAid.gov

  • For users with or without loans
  • Spanish version
  • Mobile-optimized
  • Updated design

Tip: You'll need to select the "Repay Your Loans" tab to view the link to the Repayment Estimator. 


Lisa Rhodes

U.S. Department of Education

Federal Student Aid

Washington, DC

A useful resource to help students explore area colleges is the College ScoreCard. 

Link: http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/education/higher-education/college-score-card

Students can use the College Scorecard to find out more about a college’s affordability and value so they can make more informed decisions about which college to attend. To start, they can enter the name of a college of interest to them or select factors that are important in their college search. They can find scorecards for colleges based on factors such as programs or majors offered, location, enrollment size, as well as graduation rates.

What do you think about this resource? Have you already explored this with your students? 



The Cambrdige Community Learning Center used to offer Nest Steps classes that helped our ASE level students think about and create an education and career plan for after receiving their high school equivalency. When I taught that class I used the College Scorecard as a reality check for students considering 4-year colleges. I found it to be a good tool to fram the affordability conversation of attending college and help students think of alternatives to getting a college education.

Hello Everyone,

At the Cambridge Community Learning Center Financial Literacy has been integrated into the classroom through our collaboration with Cambridge Savings Bank in the past three years. Cambridge Savings Banks offers 5 topics within their financial literacy programs. They are: 1. Budgeting and Savings; 2. Managing a Checking Account; 3. Credit Smarts; 4. Improving Your Credit and 5. Fraud Smarts.

Each semester teachers are offered the opportunity to have a representative from Cambridge Savings Bank come and provide an interactive workshop for their students about one of the five topics mentioned above. In order to select the topic most relevant to their class, teachers do some pre-teaching about financial literacy using basic finance vocabulary from the Cambridge Savings Bank presentation. Based on their pre-teaching teachers will then ask their class which of the five topics most interest them. Some teachers will request only that topic and other will select the class's first choice and a second complimentary workshop. Workshops have taken place in both our intermediate to advanced ESOL and ABE classrooms, including our Math classes.

Teachers often have a follow-up assignment for students based on the financial literacy workshop to help students either recall the information they learned or put it into practice. If you have any questions about this collaboration, feel free to email gchevry@cambridgema.gov or call me 617.349.6368.


Georgiana Chevry

Some great materials are being showcased here. I'd like to share with you some materials that can be used in the adult classroom, both with native speakers and English learners. They are materials available on these websites

in English www.consumer.gov

in Spanish on this one: www.consumador.gov

on the following topics:

Managing your money:

Making a Budget

Opening a Bank Account

Using Debit Cards

Prepaid Cards

Saving Money When You Shop

Buying and Using Phone Cards

Sending Money Overseas

Credits, Loans, and Debt

            Your Credit History

Using Credit

Payday Loans and Cash Advances

Car Title Loans

Managing Debt

Scams and Identity Theft

Avoiding Identity Theft

Recovering from Identity Theft

Scams Against Immigrants

Job Scams

Money Wiring Scams

You can download them or order in bulk for free.

Miriam Burt, SME, Adult English Language Learner CoP

Another great resource for classroom use is National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) developed website called www.spendster.org. It is a website where users can share their impulse purchase story and then take steps to Mend Your Spend, which involves taking quizzes and decision tree activity like Should I Buy This? 

Has anyone used these with their students? This could also be turned into an activty where students take a video and post it as part of the class project. What are some of the other ways of utilizing this website in a classroom context?  

Check out Federal Student Aid's online, interactive loan counseling tool, the Financial Awareness Counseling Tool (FACT). Use FACT to help students better manage their finances and understand their obligation as borrowers.

This online resource provides students with the basics of financial management and information about their federal student loan debt (and total student loan debt if they enter information about their private student loans). The tool also estimates what their student loan debt is likely to be when they leave school and provides financial planning tips.

To take advantage of this resource, visit the Financial Awareness Counseling Tool on StudentLoans.gov. 


Lisa Rhodes

U.S. Department of Education

Federal Student Aid

Thanks for sharing this timely and useful resource. I really liked how this resource [LINK] breaks down the different kinds of loans. The visual representation of a loan's life can definitely be used in a adult education classroom setting to start a discussion around student loans or loans in general.