TopLine Federal Credit Union sponsors student-led financial literacy research

Wayzata High School students partner with TopLine to design tools to teach financial literacy

MAPLE GROVE, MN (July 18, 2018) — Twin Cities-based member-owned cooperative TopLine Federal Credit Union created a one-of-a-kind partnership with a special group of students from Wayzata High School to research youth financial literacy and to help design tools to improve it.

The students are part of Wayzata High School’s Compass Program, an experiential professional career studies program for highly motivated juniors and seniors.  Courses are designed and taught in collaboration with business leaders in our community and faculty from area community colleges.  During the spring semester a team of four Business Management and Economics students partnered with TopLine to identify opportunities for young adults to build their financial literacy while identifying and creating tools to help them begin their financial journey.

Findings from the project were presented by students based on research conducted on the current awareness of financial literacy within their local high school community, potential growth areas were identified within the young adult target age group, and the team developed strategies and concepts to raise awareness around financial institution options and how consumers benefit from using credit unions for their financial needs.  They also helped TopLine by providing youth focus group feedback on the credit union’s new website.  Additionally, to support the program TopLine has also served as classroom guest instructors.

Compass students practice employability skills such as workplace communication and emotional intelligence while exploring career paths and working side-by-side with professionals in the workplace.  Through partnerships with North Hennepin and Normandale Community Colleges, students who successfully complete Compass courses earn college credits.  The Compass program derives its inspiration from the Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS), a proven business-community-public education partnership model.  Students are fully immersed in a professional culture, solving real world problems, using industry standard tools and are mentored by actual employers, all while receiving both high school and college credit.  Today dozens of school districts across the U.S., including Wayzata, are members of The CAPS Network.

“Most high school kids are not prepared for their future—we feel many don’t understand the differences between banks and credit unions, and they could use help to learn about financial literacy, like opening accounts, having credit cards, managing money, getting loans,” says Wayzata High School Compass Program Senior. “Working with TopLine helped us understand how we could bring financial information to our classmates and set everyone up for a better financial future.”

“Working with the Wayzata Compass group has been an amazing experience, and we look forward to making this a long-term partnership,” says Vicki Erickson, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications at TopLine Federal Credit Union. “The students developed a financial literacy pyramid (similar to the food pyramid), as well as the outline of a seven-week financial literacy class and a series of educational infographics to help explain various financial concepts such as loans or investing which will be quit useful as we integrate into TopLine’s young adult financial literacy curriculum.”

“We are grateful to TopLine for partnering with us and providing this invaluable experience for our students,” says Wayzata Schools Compass Coordinator Scott Tordeur. “This project didn’t just promote financial literacy among its participants; it made the participants into advocates for financial literacy among their cohort and within their community. I can’t imagine a more valuable takeaway for high school students just starting on their financial journey and we look forward to working with TopLine again on another project next year.”

To learn more about the Wayzata High School’s Compass Program, visit

About TopLine Federal Credit Union

TopLine Federal Credit Union, a Twin Cities-based credit union, is Minnesota’s 13th largest, with assets of more than $678 million and serves nearly 46,500 members. Established in 1935, the not-for-profit cooperative offers a complete line of financial services, as well as auto and home insurance, from its five branch locations — in Bloomington, Brooklyn Park, Maple Grove, Plymouth and in St. Paul’s Como Park — as well as by phone, mobile app and online at Membership is available to anyone who lives, works, worships, attends school or volunteers in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott or Washington Counties and their immediate family members. Visit us on our Facebook page at or Instagram at To learn more about the credit union’s foundation, visit


Vicki Roscoe Erickson
Senior Vice President, Marketing & Communications
TopLine Federal Credit Union

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