Consumer & Personal Finance Course Management Guide

High School Personnel

This section of the knowledgebase provides an overview of student recruitment, as well as our recommended model for supporting students throughout the course. Common student challenges in taking the course are also discussed.

Student Recruitment

In New York City, courses are open to 11th and 12th grade students who meet minimum requirements of 70 or above on the English Language Arts (ELA) New York Regents exam and 70 or above on a mathematics New York Regents exam.  CUNY recommends reviewing an eligible student’s high school transcript to confirm this information.

At CUNY, and because of CUNY’s established network of College Now participating schools, staff generate interest in the course by reaching out to campus partners who, in turn, will market the course to high school personnel. Please see Resources for sample recruitment flyers for the course.

After high school personnel determines there is sufficient interest in the course, College Now staff and/or high school personnel will recruit eligible students into the course. 

High school/campus partners are introduced to CUNY SPS staff so that together they can work to manage students’ enrollment, coordinate student orientation, and communicate with one another.

CUNY has run course sections of Consumer & Personal Finance using a few different class compositions:

  • Single school: Students are recruited and registered from the same high school
  • Mixed school: Students are recruited and registered from two or more high schools

CUNY recommends that in order to facilitate effective online teaching and interaction in the online environment, starting class enrollments are capped at 25 students. A class size of about 20 students is ideal.

Recommended Model of Student Support and the Role of the High School

Throughout our time delivering the course, we have developed a defined, recommended model of support from participating high schools. At CUNY, enrolled students in the course receive 1) dedicated lab time to complete assignments as part of the course and 2) access to a high school liaison to support them.

Dedicated Lab Time

We recommend that high schools dedicate time within students’ high school schedules to complete assignments for the course in order to address the common challenge of reliable, consistent access to a computer. This time could be a part of the students’ schedules as follows:

  • Students meet before their high school daily schedule begins
  • Students meet after their high school daily schedule ends
  • Designation of another consistent period and on consistent days (e.g., Mondays and Wednesdays from 11:00 AM – 11:45 AM)

Another potential scenario is the college campus-based support model, where students, after their high school day ends, travel to a nearby campus, and meet in a lab.

Note that CUNY SPS staff and high school personnel are very clear with students that, even as they are provided computer access while at school, the expectation is that they will need additional time to complete their coursework in any given week. At the student orientation, and in our recruitment flyers, CUNY tells students to expect approximately 10 hours per week to complete lesson assignments.

High School Liaison

In addition to the faculty appointed to teach a course section, CUNY recommends appointing a dedicated high school liaison for each participating partner school. High school liaisons are typically teachers, guidance counselors, or assistant principals.

At the start of a course, and throughout the term, program staff at CUNY SPS interact directly with high school liaisons in the following ways:

  • Scheduling orientations
  • Addressing technology access issues raised by the student
  • Addressing student participation issues, as identified by faculty
  • Addressing questions about the academic calendar and key deadlines, such as the drop and withdraw dates
  • Collecting coursepacks at the end of a term; and
  • Assisting with distribution of student course evaluations (i.e. asking students to complete the course evaluations so as to encourage a better response rate).

Common Student Challenges

The high school liaison is an advocate, using his/her position at the school to interface with faculty, higher education personnel, and others to ensure that students are successful in the course. High school liaisons can help mitigate common student challenges, such as:

Challenges in Technology Access

  • Personal or home computer is inaccessible to student
  • Personal or home computer does not have proper technology loaded on to the computer to play course media, use files, or upload files to instructor.

CUNY recommends the following technical requirements for students accessing the course:

General Requirements for Windows and Macintosh:

  • Memory 1024+ MB RAM
  • 60+ GB Hard Drive
  • Adobe Reader 8.0 or higher
  • Adobe Flash 9.0 or higher
  • Broadband Internet connection
  • Security permissions to manipulate and install software


  • Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7
  • Pentium IV 1.3+ GHz, AMD Athlon II 1.8+ Processor
  • Browsers
  • Internet Explorer 7 or higher
  • Firefox 3.6 or higher


  • OSX 10.5 Leopard, OSX 10.6 Snow Leopard
  • PowerMac G4 or 2.0 Intel Core Duo
  • Browsers
  • Safari: 4.0 or higher
  • Firefox: 3.6 or higher

In addition, students are also instructed to download the latest versions of the following technology:

Challenges in Developing Soft Skills

Students are in preparing to transition from high school to college, and as part of this process, they need support in developing their communication skills and time management skills. In our experience, students consistently find it challenging to email faculty directly. A high school liaison can encourage the student to be proactive, and can even provide best practices and tips for addressing the faculty in an email.

A common challenge for students is time management. During the dedicated lab time in schools, the high school liaison can check in with students on where they are with submitting their assignments and can help develop a strategy for completing the work.

Adjusting to Online Learning Environment and Becoming More “Digitally Literate”

Finally, students need help acclimating to the online learning environment. They not only need assistance navigating within the online course site, but also may need support with web research and with digital tools to support their work. A high school liaison can help ease this adjustment to online learning.