Image Courtesy of: Jirka Matousek

SAN DIEGO - iGrad and the University of Illinois (UI) are proud to announce the launch of a financial literacy instructor certification program.

Launched to coincide with Financial Literacy Month, the online course will be led by Scott Johnson, Program Coordinator of the Illinois Online Network (ION), a faculty development program at the University of Illinois that focuses on online and technology-enhanced teaching and learning.

The course will employ the award-winning classroom curriculum Your Financial Mastery from iGrad and Pay Your Family First. The 2015 “Education Program of the Year” was written by best-selling author Sharon Lechter and Certified Personal and Family Finance Educator Angela Totman. The course is designed to provide program facilitators with an advanced understanding of financial literacy concepts and help them convey that knowledge using the highly effective “flipped” classroom approach. This method enhances student learning by leveraging online video lectures, practical examples, and instructor-led activities and discussions, while encouraging participant learning and interaction.

“When I learned about iGrad’s concept for this certification in financial literacy, I knew this was an important step for faculty development nationwide; you don’t get this training in graduate school,” says Johnson.

The importance of this course was further highlighted in a study conducted by the National Endowment for Financial Education. The non-profit organization reported that “fewer than 20 percent” of 1,234 educators they surveyed felt “very competent” in teaching financial literacy topics.

“Many administrators and professors are not comfortable teaching financial literacy because it is a very dynamic subject that many consider to be taboo,” says iGrad Vice President, Kris Alban. “Most of these financial literacy programs are aimed at helping the student, but very little is being done to address the low-confidence levels cited by those responsible for teaching these subjects.”

The certification course trains educators in the art of personal finance and gives them the confidence and structure to teach the material effectively. “By partnering with ION, we are helping educators overcome these obstacles by providing them with a step-by-step guide for teaching financial literacy” says Alban.

Educators and administrators aren’t the only ones interested. Several institutions, including Fortune 500 companies and banks, are beginning to identify the need for financial literacy education within their organizations.

“Employers are beginning to understand that stress in the workplace is caused largely in part by a person’s everyday money problems. A financial literacy wellness program can help ease some of that stress, increase productivity, and save them a lot of money along the way,” says iGrad’s Alban.

Johnson encourages anyone interested in signing up: “It could be a community organization or individual: a plumber, a daycare provider, or a fireman who feels like this is something that needs to be taught in their community or church.”

Registration for the eight-week course is now open, with the next course set to begin June 1 and run through July 25.

About iGrad:

iGrad partners with more than 600 schools nationwide to provide a financial literacy platform that connects more than 1.2 million students, as well as alumni and staff. iGrad is the only organization to offer a customizable, adaptive learning financial education platform with optional video-based student loan entrance and exit counseling. Recent accolades include:

  • 2013 Outstanding Consumer Information Award, Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE)
  • Best Product of 2012 & 2013, University Business magazine
  • 2013 & 2015 Education Program of the Year, The Institute for Financial Literacy
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