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April 24, 2019

Student Success

Q&A with WGU's Associate Director of Financial Aid.

Still shot of Vanessa Martinaeu, Associate Director of Financial Aid at WGU.

In recognition of Financial Literacy Month, WGU has launched two new resources—Financial Avenue and Scholarship Universe—to help students maximize their personal finance skills and access external scholarship opportunities. 

The resources are available through partnerships with Inceptia and CampusLogic and build on WGU’s award-winning Responsible Borrowing Initiative (RBI), which has reduced student loan debt by 40 percent since being implemented in 2013. 

Vanessa Martineau, WGU’s Associate Director of Financial Aid, was instrumental in bringing Financial Avenue to students and recently participated in a Q&A about the launch of the resource. Check out her answers to learn more about the new, free financial literacy tool that will help WGU students make sound fiscal decisions. 

Q: What is Financial Avenue and why is WGU excited about its potential?

A: Financial Avenue is an online learning program, powered by Inceptia, that is designed to give students a leg up on financial education. It provides students with smart resources to help demystify the world of personal finance. 

Understanding and taking responsibility for your finances can be a daunting task for students, so we are excited about the potential for Financial Avenue to simplify this process and make financial wellness more accessible to WGU students.

Q: What kind of content will users find on Financial Avenue?

A: Students will have access to online courses that take on big financial topics such as the Psychology of Money, College and Money, and Debt and Repayment, to name a few. 

WGU students should find the content engaging because it’s offered in a variety of formats, such as videos and interactive quizzes and tools, allowing them to learn in their preferred manner. Users come away with customized action plans at the end of each course.

Q: How will students be able to access Financial Avenue?

A: Students can already access Financial Avenue through a link in their student portal (look for “Personal Finance Resources” in the Financial Toolbox section). We will soon encourage students to take advantage of this resource through targeted email campaigns, and in the future, some students will even engage with this content as part of their regular WGU courses.

Q: How will Financial Avenue help WGU in its mission of increasing access and affordability of higher education?

A: As students engage with Financial Avenue’s courses and tools, we believe they will be empowered to make smarter financial decisions, including graduating from WGU with less debt and setting themselves up for long-term financial success. 

Nearly 100 students have already registered to use the free resource, and we expect to see usage to grow quickly as the tool’s availability and outcomes are communicated to students. 

Q: How would you walk students through the process of navigating to Financial Avenue, and what should they know about the user experience? What content would you recommend students pay closest attention to?

Get started by setting up an account at FinancialAvenue.org. Simply click on the “Login” button at the top, and “Sign up now!” on the next page. Users will need to enter WGU’s access code before creating a username and password (students can find the WGU access code in their student portal).” 

Once students log in, they can opt to take a tour of the website, or dive right into the content. On the left side of the screen users will see a list of courses to choose from. Once they have completed a course, they can access tools and activities for that course in the “Tools & Tips” section.

Courses feature videos, interactive activities, progress trackers, pre-assessment quizzes, summaries, tools, downloadable action items, and final assessments with customized action plans.

Students can start and stop courses in any order and at the pace that works best for them. For students who aren’t sure where to start, we recommend beginning at the top of the course list and working their way down.

Q: Why is it important for WGU students to have access to financial literacy resources like this?

A: At WGU, we want our students to be successful in all areas of their lives, including their personal finances. This means that it is important for us to provide students with resources and tools that help them understand and take responsibility for their financial health.

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