‘Get Real’ provides practical personal finance facts to students

Get Real, an interactive personal finance exploration game developed by Ferris State University’s Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid, was offered on Wednesday. Pictured, students spin a wheel to see how the results will impact their lives in the game. Results ranged from detrimental — like a driving while impaired arrest or divorce — to beneficial — such as a high credit score. (Courtesy photo)

Submitted to the Pioneer

BIG RAPIDS — Once a college student graduates and heads into the “real world” they’ll face a myriad of personal budgeting decisions and bills.

On Wednesday, the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid at Ferris State University organized an event to help current Ferris students get a sneak peek at life after classes are over.

“Get Real,” an interactive game developed by financial aid outreach coordinator and advisor Melanie Mulder, was available to Ferris students as part of an outreach exercise. Mulder said she got the idea for Get Real by attending a National Association of Financial Aid Administrators conference in Chicago several years ago.

“The Indiana Women’s Education Foundation had created a program that they called ‘Reality Store,'” Mulder said. “I heard a 12-year-old girl from an inner-city school in that area speak about her experience, as it taught her a significant lesson about personal finance. When the conference was held in Grand Rapids a few years later, I volunteered to help with a Reality Store presentation, and decided it was something that Ferris students should experience. I based Get Real on the Reality Store concepts.”

Students who pre-registered for Get Real and then completed the interactive game were placed in a drawing for one of three $500 scholarships. The drawing will be on Friday, Oct. 20. Mulder said she incorporates real-time information, such as real estate listings from the West Michigan area, and car and truck prices for 2017 models.

“I believe that when students have accurate information on what will shape their future financial decisions, including our university’s average student loan debt, those facts should help them come to wise decisions while they are in school, and after they graduate,” Mulder said. “Our first Get Real exercise was offered in the 2014 Spring semester, and we present it twice a year on our campus. The majority of our students tell us after the event that they were struck by the expenses that are involved in raising children, and the variety of financial decisions that are ahead for them.”

Mulder added Ferris has taken this program to the Kent Intermediate School District in the past and welcomed 260 Mecosta-Osceola Intermediate School District Career Center students to Wednesday’s event.

Leave a Reply