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Highlands Receives COVID-19 Grant for Financial Literacy Seminars

May 29, 2020

photo of Leon Bustos

Leon Bustos

Las Vegas, N.M. – New Mexico Highlands University will present free financial literacy seminars that aim to help people cope with COVID-19 impacts thanks to a $10,000 grant from the Regional Development Corporation.

Professors in the Highlands School of Business, Media and Technology will teach the financial literacy seminars along with business professionals in Las Vegas, New Mexico. The seminars will begin in late June and continue through July.

The dates and times for the seminars will be announced as this information is finalized. To register, visit https://forms.gle/NaUxD7utuvCVk4n67

“As of 2019, New Mexico was ranked as one of the worst states in the average debt burden relative to income,” said Leon Bustos, the grant co-author and program coordinator for the seminar program. “In the current economic climate, New Mexicans are more susceptible to economic crisis compared to others in the nation. There’s clearly a need for these seminars.”

Bustos said the financial literacy seminars are aimed at skills individuals need that correspond with their shifting responsibilities and financial challenges given the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re focusing on skills that a diverse group of individuals need in different phases in their lives, like business owners, community members, and college, high school and middle school students,” said Bustos, who directs the Highlands Undergraduate Enrichment program.

The Regional Development Corporation grant funds eight two-hour seminars for participants in Northern New Mexico. The seminars will be delivered via Zoom, an online videoconferencing platform. In addition, the seminars will be archived so those who cannot attend the Zoom sessions can access them.

“In the context of COVID-19, the program outcomes will include relating income and education; money management; credit and debt management; planning, saving and investing; community and financial responsibility; and risk management,” Bustos said.

Bustos said the curriculum will be tailored to the target audience.

Keith Tucker, the interim dean for the School of Business, Media and Technology, co-wrote the grant for the seminars and is coordinating business faculty participation.

“Financial literacy comprises many different financial components of everyday life for everyone,” Tucker said. “The business administration faculty’s advanced degrees and experience cover the gambit of areas everyone can use in making those everyday decisions with financial literacy.”

Tucker said the seminars also grew out of business faculty and other faculty at Highlands seeing a need in their students for more knowledge of money management.

Bustos said Veronica Black, Center for Teaching Excellence program coordinator, and Susan Chavez, financial aid director, also played key roles in developing the grant.

For more information about the financial literacy seminars, contact Bustos at leonbustos@nmhu.edu

According to its website, the Regional Development Corporation is a private nonprofit 501(c) 3 organization dedicated to improving economic development in Northern New Mexico.