Jon Carey

Equinox Staff


Keene State College recently received a $4,000 grant to support higher education and fund the financial literacy program for incoming students.

KSC was among the eight colleges and universities selected from a pool of over 80 applicants to receive $30,000 in total funding from the grant.

Higher One, a technology and payment services company focused on higher education, funded the grant to support the literacy program instituted last year by KSC.

The Higher One Financial Literacy Counts grant program was created so schools could fund student awareness campaigns. The program also incorporates workshops, online financial literacy tools, and other programs to help students increase their personal financial management skills and abilities.

The proposals were selected based on their high levels of student involvement in planning and execution, quality, creativity, and impact on the percentage of undergraduate students on campus.

The financial literacy program, only offered at orientation for incoming students, was created for incoming students at KSC during the orientation process. Last year the program was formed as just an elective program for students, but this year it has been changed to a mandatory program for incoming freshmen.

Liane T. Wiley, senior accountant for the Business Offices at KSC said the financial literacy programs instituted last year lacked a certain spark when it came to engaging students in higher education.

Along with student help, Wiley developed a financial-themed game show in which students and audience members participated.

“The literacy program last year was a bit dry, so in order to get more students involved I wanted to create a game show so that it wasn’t just another assembly,” Wiley said.

The skits implemented into the program dealt with topics such as student budgeting, identity theft, KSC direct deposit, and more recently, the new online billing procedures.

Wiley and students from the acting department worked with the program to institute commercial skits during the game show and brought in clickers to enhance the game show effect. These clickers, used to poll the audience during the game show, become short-handed as the program gained popularity, so in order to obtain more, Wiley wrote the grant proposal and oversaw the committee that delivered the program at orientation.

“We didn’t have enough clickers to support the number of students involved within the program,” Wiley said. “I wrote up a proposal to Higher One for a financial literacy grant and they supported the grant by giving the department funds for more clickers, piggy banks, wristbands, and candy goods for students who participate.”

Karen P. House, associate vice president for finance, said using the funds for the financial literacy program can convey information to students more effectively and can help other facilities around campus.

“This grant allows the college’s resources to be stretched so that the program could be offered to more students in its second year.  In addition, the clickers that were purchased using the grant funds have been made available to the library so that they can be used by faculty and students in classes (on a loan basis),” House said.

According to Wiley, the program drew in, on average, around 130-140 newly enrolled students out of the four sessions the program was held.

Wiley also said she was pleased with how the program went and believed students gained more knowledge by attending.

“Looking though the evaluation services, I was very pleased to see that students thought the program was useful, beneficial, and effective, in relaying information within the specific topics,” Wiley said.

House relayed her appreciation towards the program and said it conveys information to students in a way that doesn’t put them to sleep.

“I appreciate that Liane and her committee worked with KSC students to write and perform skits as a part of the program.  I think this allowed the financial information to be conveyed in a way that is very relevant to our audience of incoming first-year students,” House said.

“It looked like the students who attended the programs had fun with the clickers and the game show approach.  Our goal is to convey information in an enjoyable format.”

KSC senior William Waitt, a management and economics major, said using the grant money to convey useful information to incoming students was by far the most effective way to use that money.

“I would have loved for a program like this to be created when I was a freshman; to have information presented in that fashion can really engage students and put them on the right path,” Waitt said.

“I know when I was a freshman we had orientation assemblies and activities to get students more interactive, but nothing like this new program, to my knowledge.”

Wiley emphasized that the financial literacy program is only open to incoming students during orientation periods and hopes more and more students will express their interest within the program.

“I enjoy seeing the student participation; now for the future we can enhance the program and try and get more student involvement and input on how to make it more beneficial for students,” Wiley said.


Jon Carey can be contacted at

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