Every year, hundreds of Columbus City high school students participate in Get Real, a financial literacy program hosted by Huntington and The CW Columbus. Get Real opens the students' eyes to the difficulties of managing money in the real world. This year, Get Real was held at the former Beck Elementary school in German Village on Friday, October 6.
In a recent study of high school students, conducted by the Economic Center at the University of Cincinnati, participants scored an average of only 54.5 percent on tests of overall economic and financial understanding. According to a 2014 survey by the Council for Economic Education, only 19 states require personal finance or economic courses to graduate high school. Because Ohio is still not one of those states, Huntington, the CW Columbus and Columbus City Schools have partnered to give students a crash course in money matters.
Students visit booths where they learn about and, using a fake checking account, pay for certain necessities. For example, when students visit the auto insurance booth sponsored by Huntington Insurance, they learn about insurance premiums for their cars and write checks to cover their monthly costs.
Learning to balance a checkbook, manage a monthly salary and manage a Huntington Bank checking account are all part of the Get Real experience. Students who participate are assigned an employment position and family status, such as "two children" or "no children." Students use their accounts to pay for housing, childcare, taxes, education, transportation, utilities, groceries and other expenses. Many students have to take a second job to cover their monthly bills.
Reggie Thomas, Vice President and Community Development Relationship Manager of Huntington Bank, says of Get Real, "It really opens their eyes to what's in store for them down the road and I think that's a good thing to go through."
Thank you to Huntington Bank and Columbus City Schools for making Get Real 2017 possible!