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10,000 Degrees Hosts ‘Money Matters: Budgeting for College,’ An Interactive Financial Literacy Workshop For 300 Students At Independence High School In San Jose

‘Money Matters,’ created by local nonprofit 10,000 Degrees, is intended to help low-income students better understand the importance of making informed college financial decisions

San Rafael, Calif. (March 21, 2024) – 10,000 Degrees, an organization dedicated to unlocking student success at scale by giving more students equitable opportunities for a quality college education and career success, will host ‘Money Matters,’ an interactive financial aid literacy workshop for more than 300 students at Independence High School in San Jose on Thursday, March 28.

‘Money Matters,’ created by Bay Area nonprofit 10,000 Degrees, is designed to help students from low-income backgrounds at partner high schools understand their college financial aid options, and to help students come to the realization that post-secondary education can be affordable.

The ‘Money Matters’ workshops are led by 10,000 Degrees staff and various corporate partner volunteers, including the Sharks Foundation and Technology Credit Union (Tech CU). In January 2024, 10,000 Degrees partnered with the Sharks Foundation and Tech CU to help support the ‘Money Matters’ program in San Jose’s East Side Union High School District. The Sharks Foundation and Tech CU awarded 10,000 Degrees with a $25,000 grant to support the ‘Money Matters’ program for the 2023 – 2024 academic year. Additionally, the Sharks Foundation and Tech CU will engage students by volunteering at ‘Money Matters’ workshops at 10,000 Degrees partner high schools in San Jose.

About ‘Money Matters’

At the ‘Money Matters’ workshops, participating high school students are tasked to juggle set budgets and flexible pricing for college-related expenses, including books, transportation, technology, meal plans, housing, social life, and personal care. At the workshops, students are given a mock college acceptance letter with tuition costs and a financial aid package, and then rotate between 10 stations facilitated by 10,000 Degrees staff and volunteers. At each station, students are challenged to make difficult budgeting decisions, including being encouraged to spend more than they should on products and services they may or may not need to demonstrate the results of poor financial decision-making. Students are also given advice on financially responsible decision-making, as well as the option of seeking scholarships and financial aid at the 10,000 Degrees station.

‘Money Matters’ Objectives

  • Students learn through their decision-making that college is possible and affordable by accessing free financial aid and making thoughtful and informed choices about where to spend their money.
  • Students grow their advocacy skills by discovering what steps they need to take to find additional financial resources.
  • Students learn the importance of submitting a financial aid application (FAFSA/CADA).
  • Students begin to understand college-related expenses and how financial aid plays a role in reducing out-of-pocket costs.
  • Students meet 10,000 Degrees staff and learn more about 10,000 Degrees programs, services, and resources offered at their campus.
  • Students receive information about scholarships, administered by 10,000 Degrees.
  • Students learn about the 10,000 Degrees College Opportunities Summit, a summertime college prep program, that will support them to strongly start their senior year and college journey.

“10,000 Degrees is committed to helping students enter and graduate from college. However, transitioning from high school to college is not easy for many students, especially for first-generation college students. ‘Money Matters’ will provide students with hands-on experience that will help them understand the importance of making smart financial decisions as they prepare to enter college,” said Maria Hernandez, director of curriculum and engagement at 10,000 Degrees. “We would also like to thank our corporate volunteers, whose expertise and contributions – alongside that of our dedicated staff – will help make this important learning experience a complete success.”

“10,000 Degrees’ programs and resources have proven to help our students develop new skills and broaden their college aspirations. However, many students worry about the growing cost of a college education, and that can sometimes negatively impact academic performance and graduation rates,” said Glenn Vander Zee, superintendent for the East Side Union High School District and 10,000 Degrees South Bay advisory board member. “Financial literacy programs such as ‘Money Matters’ can help students alleviate some college-affordability concerns, while also providing students with the necessary resources to help them attend and successfully complete a college education.”

Community Support
Volunteers scheduled to attend ‘Money Matters’ at Independence High School come from various companies and organizations, such as the Sharks Foundation, Technology Credit Union, Shortino Family Foundation, Bank of America, Poppy Bank, Patelco, US Bank, Salesforce, PG&E, Umpqua Bank, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

Volunteers and 10,000 Degrees staff will work together at the ‘Money Matters’ workshop to help students better understand the risks and challenges associated with making certain college-related budgeting decisions. Volunteers will be placed at various stations to sell items to students visiting their tables. In many cases, they will be tasked to “upsell” students on expensive items or help them pick the “financially responsible” item. This will also be an opportunity for students to interact with volunteers, many of whom work at financial institutions, and to see 10,000 Degrees programming in action.