Student-Run Credit Unions

What is a Student-Run Credit Union?
First Day Financial Credit Union's Shyra Thomas explains.

Why I work at my high school's student-run credit union
A student shares her experiences.

Resources for Educators

Why should I partner with a credit union?
Credit unions exist to improve their members' lives with financial services. In step with their motto of "People Helping People", credit unions across Ohio provide volunteers to visit classrooms and teach financial lessons such as budgeting, savings, and credit. In addition, credit unions partner with school districts to offer students hands-on financial knowledge and real-world work experience through student-run credit unions and financial reality fairs.

What is a student-run credit union?
The program consists of opening a fully functioning credit union branch inside the school. Students are then instructed on how to run the branch, which includes performing all duties from accepting membership applications to processing deposits.

What are some of the benefits associated with opening a student-run credit union?

  1. Provides students with hands-on experience in a financial setting.
  2. Creates a new generation of savers.
  3. Teaches lifelong employment skills.
  4. Expands upon the curriculum, i.e. math and business classes.
  5. Gives them an opportunity to learn about the credit union philosophy.
  6. Establishes a mutual partnership between two community organizations, credit union and school district.
  7. Contributes to the educational system.
  8. Establishes innovative financial products and services for youth.

What is a financial reality fair?
A financial reality fair provides students with an opportunity to work with a paycheck and learn how to budget to provide for the future family. Students are randomly assigned a job, sometimes they are allowed to choose, and family size and then are required to make decisions on living arrangements, food, transportation, utilities, clothing, luxury items, etc. They are also provided with credit scores, which are used to assist in approving or denying loans and determining interest rates.

What are some of the benefits associated with offering students a reality fair experience?

  1. Provides students with hands-on financial experience in a fun setting.
  2. Gives students an opportunity to create and work a budget.
  3. Teaches the importance of building and keeping good credit.
  4. Emphasizes the importance of saving.
  5. Offers students an opportunity to explore future career options.
  6. Expands upon school curriculum.

Who can I contact if I need more information?
For more information on partnering with a credit union near you, visit
or contact Laura Busque at the Ohio Credit Union League via email or at 1-800-486-2917.


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