MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University (WOU) has created a unique partnership with Maps Community Foundation to address financial literacy for current students.
As part of their relationship, Maps will invest $50,000 to fund scholarships for student peer mentors and the university will add financial literacy to the mentoring program’s curriculum. In addition, Maps Credit Union will work closely with the university to provide workshops and train the trainer instruction for peer mentors.
In announcing the agreement, university President Mark Weiss said, “I would personally like to applaud Maps for joining us in delivering this critically important educational program for our students. Financial literacy is a skill that will serve WOU students well both during their college experience and after graduation as they build their careers and families. We are grateful to Maps for their investment and have confidence in this important partnership.”
The partnership with Maps Community Foundation dramatically increases the number of peer mentors from 15 to 43, and now makes it possible for a peer mentor to be assigned to each of the university’s residence hall living communities. Addressing the concern with an innovative approach, the program will now improve financial literacy for more than 1,200 students currently living on campus.
Following a selection process, Maps’ Peer Mentors receive specialized training from Student Health and Counseling Center counselors to serve as the front line of support to assist students. Through educational based programs, Maps’ Peer Mentors promote healthy lifestyles, assist freshmen transiting to college, and provide wellness workshops. To expand healthy living, assistance will now include financial literacy.
The 12-year old Peer Mentor program is managed through a collaboration between the university’s Student Health and Counseling Center and University Housing that is focused on student success and graduation.
“Maps loves the Peer Mentor Program’s commitment to increase financial literacy by training today’s students in skills they will use for the rest of their lives,” said Jill Nowacki, vice president-development, Maps Credit Union. “Building financial literacy not only increases the chances of these students finishing school, but of them graduating with less debt, making smarter financial decisions throughout life, and teaching future generations how to better manage money.”
Western Oregon University, founded in 1856, is the oldest public university in the western United States. The university has received national recognition for excellence for its focus on student learning and success by the Education Trust, U.S. News and World Report, American Association of State Colleges and Universities, National Association of Academic Advisors, and Parade Magazine. In 2010 WOU was recognized by the Education Trust as being the top university in America at eliminating the Latino graduation gap. WOU is a member of the seven-campus Oregon University System and is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
About Maps Community Foundation
The Maps Community Foundation is a philanthropic affiliate of Maps Credit Union, organized to introduce asset-building programs and services in the communities served by Maps Credit Union. Organized in 2011, the Maps Community Foundation builds community partnerships, funds college scholarships, and engages in cooperative efforts that strengthen our community.
About Maps Credit Union
Maps Credit Union was founded by 17 volunteers in 1935. It serves more than 41,000 members in Marion, Polk, Yamhill, Linn, Benton, Clackamas, Washington and Multnomah counties. The credit union has nine branches located in east, west, south and central Salem; Keizer; the Willamette University campus; Monmouth; Woodburn; and Silverton. The credit union also instructs students and operates three non-profit student branches as school-to-work labs for high school business courses at North Salem, West Salem and McKay high schools.
David McDonald, Associate Provost
Western Oregon University