Brenna Wright: Working to Build a Strong Title III Financial Literacy Program
Martha Davis Vignes, Title III Activities Director
Being Smart with Money is a skill Brenna Wright wants first time-in-college (FTIC) students at Pensacola State College (PSC) to Learn! Recently named as Title III: Pirate PATH to Success Financial Literacy Coordinator, Brenna hit the ground running in her new position – just days after receiving her graduate degree in Education from the University of West Florida.
This Rotary International Youth Exchange alumnus is not shy about getting to know new colleagues or familiarizing herself in new surroundings. She is reaching out and meeting community partners and current PSC faculty and staff – many of whom serve on a standing Financial Literacy Committee – to provide programs aimed at teaching good financial management skills to students – who are often facing life-changing decisions for how to fund a college education.
PSC provides a strong network of student services and financial aid – based on eligibility, i.e. scholarships and grants. Still, making financial decisions can be intimidating for students who are new to the college experience. And, it can be a learning curve for families – when sons or daughters are the first generation in the family to attend college. This is where Brenna is closing the gap of confusion – by offering students financial literacy education, in various formats.
To support individual students, monthly programs and presentations are scheduled, and the Title III Financial Literacy program will partner with the Pirates CARE Team to train in Financial Coaching: one-on-one support for students dealing with unexpected crises – as they attend classes, work at a job: on- or off-campus, and in some cases, struggle to raise a family – while attending PSC.
In the community, Brenna joins a host of long-serving partners who meet monthly to help families take more control of financial choices. The EscaRosa Financial Literacy Coalition was formed as an outgrowth of financial literacy programs at PSC and is now managed by the United Way of West Florida. The group is a hub of service-minded individuals from nonprofit organizations along with corporate partners who seek opportunities to educate Escambia and Santa Rosa families to better understand, manage, and improve their personal financial situations.
Financial literacy materials and monthly activities at PSC are funded through the U.S. Department of Education, Title III Strengthening Institutions program – a five-year grant, awarded annually, with an emphasis to increase retention rates and degree completion for FTIC students.
The overall Title III team at PSC is a collection of experienced faculty, staff, and upper administration who serve on committees, provide subject matter expertise, oversee the budget, and review/approve projects aimed at helping FTIC students stay on course to complete their degrees or certificate programs and make it through to graduation – the ultimate goal.