With Futures Right Around the Corner, Reagan H.S. Seniors are Financially Ready

FacebookLinkedInTwitterFinancial fundamentals mean more than budgets and banking. For seniors at Ronald Reagan College Preparatory High School in Milwaukee, it’s integral to their futures, which are right around the corner.

Three students who participated in Money Sense in late 2016 joined their educator, Misa Sato, (all pictured at left) to recap the impact of financial education at the close of our January board directors meeting.

Miranda is a senior who plans to go to University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee next year to study biology. She said she’ll bring the budgeting, loan and savings handouts from the class with her to college. It turns out they’ve already come in handy at home.

“I remember coming home one day and showing my dad all the handouts that I got from the lessons. He went into a deep lecture about adulthood! Sharing that with him, he pretty much made me share everything with my younger sister,” she said.

Stephanie, a senior who hopes to study sports medicine in the Fall, said: “It’s helpful to learn how serious things are getting for us. We can definitely start saving now for our plans.”

She said she took a lot from the “To Your Credit” lessons in Money Sense, learning about credit cards and credit scores, which were things her parents felt “overwhelmed” by when trying to talk with her about finances.


[Money Sense], they taught us how to have a good start with credit cards,” she said. “Getting one when you’re ready then putting something small on it, something you can afford, let’s you start to build your credit and get ready for loans.”

Than is a senior at Reagan who has been accepted at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). Than said he was prepared for the “sticker shock” of college costs, and used what he learned in Money Sense to budget between grants, loans, scholarships and savings.

“This [program] helped me to understand how to work better with loans,” said Than, who plans to studying engineering. “When I talked to other friends about college, I felt knowing there are differences in types of loans really helped me.”

Reagan has welcomed Money Sense lessons and volunteers into their school every year but one since 2006, reaching hundreds of students in the past 11 years (including current board director Jeremy Cain). The southside Milwaukee school has also been an active partner in our Money Coach financial mentoring program. Misa Sato, an IB coordinator for 11th and 12th graders at Reagan and former science teacher at the top-ranked MPS school, said financial education lessons come at a “perfect time” for juniors and seniors.

“In the student feedback they tell us that they learn so much in their core academics, but they don’t know how to save, or anything about financial literacy,” she said. “They told me that … [they know this information] is important for next year and even 20 years from now. It’s a different perspective for them.”