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Affordable Education Opportunities: Keys to Your Future

Pioneer Library System - McLoud Public Library

Innovation Leader: Wanda Haynes, Branch Manager McLoud Public Library, whaynes@pls.lib.ok.us

Problem Statement

Student debt creates financial insecurity for millions of people in this country and is second only to medical debt in creating economic hardship from debt. And, student loan debt cannot be discharged in bankruptcy except in extreme circumstances. Most K-12 students and their parents know little about available programs to help pay for higher education, some of which is at little or no cost to the student. Saving and investing options work most effectively when parents have the information and start saving when their children are young. The McLoud Public Library serves a small community of 3,500.

Innovation

As part of the FINRA PLS SMART Money @ Your Library, the McLoud Public Library hosted a panel that focused on helping young people identify ways to pay for post secondary education. There were nine panelists that presented a broad range of topics including: resources available through PLS to help young people prepare for standardized testing; Oklahoma’s Promise, a program administered by the Oklahoma Board of Regents for families earning less than $50,000; options to pay for post-secondary expenses including debt financing, saving and investing; the strategy of testing out of college classes and concurrent enrollment, and alternatives to college.

On hand were recruiters from OU, OSU and Rose State; representative from Gordon Cooper Technology Center, and representatives from the Kickapoo and Citizen Potawatomi Nation who discussed tribal scholarship opportunities. We followed the program with a tail-gate party of hot dogs, chips, and cheese nachos. We also provided exhibit space and time for the college recruiters to speak individually with interested parties.

Progress

This program was educational for everyone involved-both audience and presenters. The basis of this program was recognized by our library system and will be repeated in several of our libraries this spring with their local educators.