The final Enrichment Seminars for the BBA’s Summer Jobs students centered on making responsible financial decisions and planning for the future. First, the students heard from Dan Forster, Vice President for Enrollment Management at Westfield State University, on the basics regarding college financial aid and admissions. Most of the Summer Jobs students are rising juniors and seniors currently considering their options after graduation and navigating the world of student loans. Forster reviewed how to calculate the expected financial need for each school based on the total cost of attendance and what one can expect to pay before considering loan options. In addition to financial aid, Foster oversees Westfield State’s admissions office and fielded the students’ many questions about what universities are looking for in potential students. While there’s no one answer for every student and every college, Forster stressed the importance of doing well in high school to signal to colleges potential future success. With so many options out there, Forster also stressed that there is a college out there that will meet the needs of each student financially, academically, and socially. After the session, students noted how useful it was to have an open dialogue and hear information very relevant to their lives.
At their last seminar for the summer, the students visited the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Boston as part of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program to learn about the consequences of filing for bankruptcy. The students participated in a mock 341 meeting and mock relief from stay hearing, which introduced them to the types of questions one may have to answer during the bankruptcy process. They learned that student loan debt is nearly impossible to discharge through bankruptcy. Most importantly, the students had an opportunity to ask Chief Judge Melvin Hoffman questions about bankruptcy, and hear firsthand about what it’s like to be a judge in federal court. With many aspiring lawyers in the Summer Jobs Program, the students enjoyed learning the attributes of a good candidate for judgeship.