Summer InstituteS and Bi-weekly Meetings

Fellows will participate in three Summer Institutes from 10th grade through graduation. Each Summer Institute includes two installments of discretionary stipends disbursed to fellows. Fellows also attend bi-weekly meetings where they discuss diverse financial topics, hear from guest speakers, and reflect upon budgeting efforts.

Throughout their Summer Institute experiences, fellows develop into financial decision-makers responsible for:

Banking and Budgeting (SI 1)

  • Fellows will

    • Open checking accounts and savings accounts.

    • Learn to read account statements.

    • Balance their budgets based on discussions of past results and future projections with peers and financial advisors.

    Account Security and Identity Theft (SI 1)

    Fellows will

    • Know how to best protect their identity.

    • Understand what to do if one’s account is compromised.

    Investing Basics (Grade 11)

    Fellows will

    • Learn about the risk and return of different investment options.

    • Present a defense for the 529 portfolio they selected.

    Financial Aid and College Access (Grades 11 and 12)

    Fellows will

    • Complete the FAFSA and apply for additional scholarships.

    • Perform extensive, personalized college research using The College Project.

    Credit Cards and Debt Management (SI 2)

    Fellows will

    • Learn about how debt works - specifically credit card and student loan debt.

    • Receive personalized guidance in an effort to build positive spending and account management habits if they choose to have a credit card.

    • Research the costs/benefits of auto loans and mortgages

    Income and Taxes (Grade 12)

    Fellows will

    • Learn how to prepare their own taxes.

    • Participate in workshops focusing on career opportunities, interview skills, employment benefits, and the value of higher education.

    Investing and Retirement (SI 3)

    Fellows will

    • Establish and manage their own Individual Investment Accounts and IRA/Roth IRAs

529 Scholarships

The Finance Lab curriculum emphasizes the significant personal and professional benefits of graduating from college. Our scholarship program is uniquely structured to teach students how to open and manage tax-advantaged investment accounts. Here are the details:

  • In 10th grade, fellows become named beneficiaries of 529 plans (initially selected into interest-only portfolios) as they meet with a 529 college savings specialist.

  • As they complete program requirements, fellows receive $100 micro-scholarships deposited into their 529 on a monthly basis.

  • In 11th grade, fellows learn investing fundamentals (asset classes and asset allocation, risk and return, diversification, dollar-cost averaging).

  • After meeting with a 529 specialist, a financial advisor, and completing our investment unit, fellows will be given the unique responsibility of selecting a portfolio for their scholarship assets.

  • Prior to taking action, fellows will present a “defense” of their portfolio selection in front of an audience of peers, family, and members of The Finance Lab’s financial services network.

  • Fellows will track and reflect upon portfolio performance over time.

Note: Our thorough application process gives us the desire to provide all selected Finance Lab Fellows with 529 scholarships. However, our ability to universally provide this additional experience depends greatly on donor support.

Professional Mentors and Guest Speakers

Personal Bankers

Financial Advisors

College Students and Borrowers

College Savings Specialists

Certified Public Accountants


Note: Our partners support Finance Lab Fellows through a lens of developing financial independence. They volunteer countless hours and resources without charging fees or anticipating client acquisition. We are beyond thankful for their contributions to financial literacy within the lives of our fellows, their families and communities.

The Finance Lab Fellows, 2018 Cohort. Special thanks to Robert Tapia (@ Pacific Media) for filming and production. Special thanks to Roberto Duran, Ross Atefi, and Ana Kline at Odyssey Wealth Management.