FSU, MOISD students participate in budgeting program

While traveling around one of the rooms in the University Center during Thursday’s Get Real program, Ferris State University student Ashley Carpenter (standing) talks with FSU staff member April Bigelow about the costs of childcare. (Pioneer photos/Meghan Gunther-Haas)

BIG RAPIDS — As if in a life-size version of the Game of Life, Ferris State University students wove through the University Center on Thursday, stopping in multiple areas to make various financial decisions during the Get Real program.

FSU students look over their budgets to check if they can afford a pet. Homes, utilities, loans, clothing, vehicles, vacations, investments and more could all be considered in a student’s budget.

Upon entering the center, students pick a ring box, which will determine if they are married or single, then grab a small bulldog, which tells them how many children they have in this scenario. Students then make their way to different booths, selecting houses, vehicles, insurance, childcare and more, while trying to budget their costs in comparison to what they could be making after they graduate with a degree.

“Get Real is a financial  awareness program,” said Melanie Mulder, FSU coordinator of financial aid outreach events and adviser. “What we’ve found is a lot of students aren’t getting a lot of financial training.”

Mulder said the program began 30 years ago to combat teen pregnancy, a concept started by the Indiana Federation of Business and Professional Women. Now in its sixth year at FSU, Mulder said the response to Thursday’s event was huge, with more than 280 Mecosta-Osceola Intermediate School District students and 400 FSU students participating.

“It has been nonstop,” Mulder said. “I’ve been really surprised and pleased with the turnout. This has been an amazing response.”

After making their way around the room, FSU freshmen James Kendrick, a physical therapy student, and Logan Lambertson, who is studying criminal justice, said Thursday was a learning exercise.

“I learned a lot about vehicles and insurance,” Kendrick said.

He noted his takeaway from the program was to look ahead for the future after graduation.

Lambertson agreed.

“It’s definitely something you don’t think about,” he said. “It’s a lot to think about.”

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Posted by Meghan Gunther-Haas

Meghan is the education reporter for the Pioneer and Herald Review. She can be reached at (231) 592-8382 or by email at mhaas@pioneergroup.com.

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