January is College and Career Readiness Month. Sounds great! But what does it mean?

College and career readiness means that students leave high school prepared to successfully transition into post-secondary education or the workplace. The vision of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) is for all students in Wisconsin to graduate from high school academically prepared and socially and emotionally competent by gaining the knowledge and skills needed to be successful and developing responsible habits. Money Path, the most complete academic career and financial planning app for teens and young adults, is one tool that can help students achieve these attributes. Raquel Rojano, a first-generation college student and junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, can attest to it.

Raquel was introduced to the Money Path app her junior year of high school and it completely changed her outlook on planning for college. “I knew about scholarships before using the Money Path app, but I didn’t know how important they were,” said Raquel. “The career builder tool was so useful because it made me realize how much taking out a loan of any kind would impact my financial future.” It was this realization that led Raquel to make the decision that would change her future. “At that moment I made it a goal of mine to graduate college debt-free.” And graduate debt-free she will.

After using the Money Path app and realizing how far back student loans would set her, Raquel applied to dozens of scholarships and worked two jobs to save for everything she’d need for college. Her hard work and determination paid off and she was awarded a full-ride scholarship from All-In Milwaukee with Northwestern Mutual as her donor. “It took a lot of weight off my shoulders. I felt like, ok, I’m safe now.”

While Raquel’s path was to attend college after high school, the Money Path app is not only useful for college-bound students. Remember, it’s called college and career readiness month and Money Path can help prepare your teen for entering directly into the workplace or choosing another path like the trades or the military. Money Path allows teens to choose a career, see what the starting salary will be and create a budget, so they get a clear picture of how much income they’ll need to cover things like food, clothing, rent, healthcare, and transportation. This ability to build the future that’s right for each unique situation is what Raquel found so useful about the Money Path app. “It helps make your future seem more real. You can think about a plan in your head but building and seeing what a version of your future can look like all in one place is really beneficial. It makes it feel more real and more achievable.”

Financial health is a key factor in the wellbeing of individuals, families, and communities, but it isn’t possible without good financial education. According to the 2022 TIAA Institute Personal Finance Index, those with very low financial literacy levels are six times more likely to have trouble making ends meet compared to individuals with very high financial literacy levels. Growing up in Milwaukee, Raquel knows all too well the financial inequities that exist in her community. “Being financially literate and educated is very important and it really does play a huge role in your life decisions and habits. There is a huge disparity between the access to financial education within city schools vs. suburban schools and not even in just the schools, but at home with the parents.” Raquel sees this lack of access to financial education as a huge issue because it creates a cycle of poverty. “If you become financially educated as a teen, when you grow up and become an adult you can pass that knowledge down, without access to financial education you keep the cycle going.”

The mission of the Wisconsin DPI is Educational Equity – every student has what they need to learn, when they need it. Financial literacy is an integral part of breaking down barriers caused by racial, economic, and educational inequities and Money Path is a powerful tool that can help make the vision of educational equity a reality.

Once your teen has an account, they have lifetime access so they can revisit and adapt their plans throughout their high school experience and into the transition to adulthood.

Help your teen become college and career ready by bringing Money Path to them today!