On Wednesday, Aug. 26, the Office of Financial Education and Wellness hosted 10 professionals from Belarus to discuss best practices in improving financial literacy.
Patricia Scott, assistant vice president of student financial assistance and education, welcomed the group to the SMC Campus Center. As a special treat, the delegates were greeted by Tamara Borisevich, a Belarusian native who works in the School of Pharmacy.
Tisa Silver Canady, MBA, director of financial education and wellness facilitated the discussion and provided the delegation with an overview of UMB’s efforts to improve financial literacy. The group expressed strong interest in financial aid counseling, loan repayment, and financial literacy programming with external partners such as the School of Social Work Financial Social Work Initiative (FSWI), the Baltimore CASH Campaign, and Guidewell Financial Solutions.
“Collaborating with community partners has allowed UMB to provide students and employees with valuable financial services such as tax filing and preparation assistance and credit report reviews, free of charge,” said Silver Canady.
Silver Canady emphasized UMB’s practice of coordinating financial education and wellness activities with the efforts of campus financial aid administrators. Delegates were able to learn about federal financial aid programs and the nuances of graduate and professional aid from UMB’s financial aid counselors: Peggy Buerhaus, Jaslynn Hutley, Richard Legendre, Anderlynn Mitchell, and Breyann Williams. Yvette Gregory, MS, coordinator of the Federal Work-Study Program shared insights on student workers.
In addition to their UMB visit, the delegates have interacted with leaders at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Maryland State Department of Education, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine, Maryland CASH Campaign, and Junior Achievement of Central Maryland.
Activities for the delegation were coordinated by the World Trade Center Institute (WTCI), through USAID’s Community Connections Program. The three-week immersion program is a reflection of the Belarusian government’s commitment to financial literacy and seeks to improve the participants’ understanding of U.S. methods in the field so they can influence change in their communities. Upon return to Belarus, the delegates must implement a specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely (SMART goals) action plan within six months.