Franklin First Federal Credit Union launches college planning center with Invite Education

Press release from CUInsight:

GREENFIELD, MA (July 19, 2017) — Franklin First Federal Credit Union (FFFCU) has announced a partnership with Invite Education to offer a free comprehensive, life-cycle college planning website. FFFCU’s College Planning Center, powered by Invite Education, is available to anyone, FFFCU members or non-members, who would like better information, tools, and services to more effectively plan and pay for college. FFFCU is the first Credit Union to partner with Invite Education.

“Planning and paying for higher education can be a daunting task for families. Our hope in partnering with Invite Education is to make this process less stressful by helping families answer critical questions such as ‘How do I save for my children’s education?’ ‘Can my child get in to their dream school?’ and ‘Can we afford it?’” said Franklin First CEO/President Michelle Dwyer. “We look forward to helping all families in the community make the college planning process more positive and rewarding with our new College Planning Center.”

Jeff Bentley, Director of Strategic Partnerships for Invite Education added: “Invite Education is thrilled to have a strategic partner such as Franklin First, which is a visionary thought leader in offering a College Planning Center to clarify the college process for its members.”

The FFFCU/Invite Education College Planning Center is a robust platform with an intuitive design that empowers families to manage the entire college planning process from birth through high school. The website offers:

  • Age-appropriate guidance to empower families with detailed information on preparing, financing, and successfully applying to college
  • Easy-to-understand explanations to help parents evaluate options: savings, scholarships, financial aid, and loans
  • Comprehensive calculators and college and scholarship search engines
  • Resource Center with college planning resources and FFFCU endorsed products/services
  • Calendar that integrates relevant testing dates, college and scholarship deadlines, and family specific events

Those interested can access the FFFCU College Planning Center at For more information, call Franklin First Federal Credit Union at (413) 774-6700.

About Franklin First Federal Credit Union

Franklin First Federal Credit Union began in 1958 at Franklin County Public Hospital. In the 1980’s there were mergers of four Franklin County credit unions: Franklin County Public Hospital FCU, Franklin County Teachers FCU, Lunt Silversmiths CU, and Greenfield Tap & Die Credit Union. Anyone who lives, works, attends school or worships in Franklin County can join Franklin First. They currently serve over 7,000 members and over 250 Business Group Partners at their branch at 57 Newton Street in Greenfield, Massachusetts.

About Invite Education

Founded in 2012, Invite Education demystifies the process of planning and paying for college by providing a comprehensive suite of information, tools and services for families. Offering an online custom College Planning Center, a weekly podcast called My College Corner, a blog and a book, they partner with organizations to provide this valuable information to their employees, members and customers.


Michelle Dwyer
Franklin First Federal Credit Union
(413) 774-6700

Highlights from the RI Jump$tart Financial Capability Conference: #FinLitRI on Twitter

Highlights from theRI Jump$tart Financial Capability Conference!

Financial literacy is modernizing with new tools to deliver empowering knowledge helping people make smart financial decisions. It’s grown to include   and  and more as featured throughout the conference. Invite Education supports these initiatives, with Jeff Bentley in attendance, providing copies of the new book “Plan and Finance your Family’s College Dreams”:

The Harvard Coop features “Plan and Finance your Family’s College Dreams”

12/6/16 UPDATE**

Thanks so much to the Harvard Coop for hosting the event!




Join authors John Hupalo and Peter Mazareas at the Harvard Coop for discussion and signing of the new book “Plan and Finance your Family’s College Dreams”, available now.

Topics include:

  • Grade and age appropriate guidance for parents with newborns through 12th grade Admissions and financial aid tips
  • Learning about 529 plans for college savings
  • Important deadlines that can’t be missed
  • Audience questions on planning and paying for college

Date: Tuesday December 6, 2016 @ 7:00 pm

Location: Harvard Coop. 1400 Massachusetts Ave Cambridge, MA 02238

Contact: 617-499-2000

What I learned at the 2016 Annual Conference on Financial Education

I was honored to attend the 2016 Annual Conference on Financial Education and EIFLE Awards ceremony at the Caribe Royal in Orlando (Waterfall Pic Above). The event featured educators from the U.S., Mexico and Canada dedicated to financial literacy, here are just a few of the highlights from this great experience!

People Care: There were so many great financial literacy leaders at the conference sharing their stories of inspiration.  There were authors, teachers, program managers, parents, students, economists, Ph. D’s, financial planners and regulators all in attendance.  The one thing they had in common?  They care about the people they serve and want to see improvements in the world of financial literacy.

2016 EIFLE Award Winners!

Personal Finance is complicated, educators simplify: Often times financial literacy is lost on students when it becomes too complicated and difficult to relate to real life.  In truth, financial literacy can apply to everyone in many ways, but it’s not seen as important until it’s recognized as relevant.   Financial literacy teachers take a complex idea and make it easy for early learners to understand and appreciate the importance.  Additionally, we learned from behavioral finance educators that people can take action to improve their own financial circumstances through a combination of great knowledge learned in the classroom combined with real life “learning moments” that pop up every day.  Personal experience is the toughest teacher since it gives the test first and the lesson last, but when it comes to financial literacy curriculum, we can always learn from the experiences of great educators.

A greater mission and purpose: 

Always “Land on your Feet”

Financial literacy is a huge topic, but after participating in many of the presentations, a greater narrative became clear. Attendees and presenters alike share a common purpose in helping their communities face financial challenges of all kinds.  They all matter!  Many organizations whether non-profits or for-profits see the advancement of financial literacy as a greater calling, whereby working together creates the synergy to improve an economy, allowing “all boats to rise on a common tide.”  John Hupalo, CEO of Invite Education shared his personal insight on the issues facing financial literacy for college attendance, citing the motivation displayed by Felix Baumgartner’s record breaking free-fall.  The success of being able to “Land on your feet” is something that all college students should not only strive for, but ultimately achieve as a result of their college experience.  Financial literacy leading up to college will help parents prepare their children by teaching them how to make smart choices as they choose a college.  This process will lay the  foundation for financial success after graduation.  College is just the first successful step forward for many in pursuit of career and life goals.  By providing a baseline of financial literacy to tackle this big question, we all have much to gain.

The Future is Now! 

Financial Literacy for Life!

People are helping people with financial literacy and using technology to reduce the barriers of service.  I was fascinated by the diverse number of attendees sharing their unique ideas and experiences.  It’s realized that technology plays a critical role in simplifying the educational process, but too often we allow it to become a distraction.  When we see students plugged into their smart phones, it’s just another sign of the modern times.  Financial literacy is more important now than ever and is transitioning into the digital era not with fancy bells and whistles, but rather with clear messaging, consistency and intelligent targeting of audiences most in need of help.  Once teachers work to build relationships with students and prove relevancy of their content, the next step is embracing common technology to continue follow up with more valuable lessons into the future. Financial literacy is a step-by-step process where students can continue to learn throughout their life no matter how technology will change in the future!




2016 Annual Conference on Financial Literacy

Invite Education team will be attending the 2016 Annual Conference on Financial Literacy in Orlando, FL April 13-15.  From their site:

“The Annual Conference on Financial Education provides professional development opportunities for individuals who work with financial literacy education. In addition to being a critical networking event for financial educators, the Conference offers attendees the opportunity to learn about current trends, develop funding strategies and advance the cause of financial education.”

The event presents an excellent venue for financial educators to share their knowledge and insight on critical financial literacy topics, teaching, engagement and community outreach methods.  The conference helps promote  the effective delivery of consumer financial products, services and education by hosting this national event bringing professionals together in a positive learning environment.  Guests are encouraged to engage and share their experiences while meeting and networking with industry leaders.

John Hupalo, CEO of Invite Education is providing a special presentation “Using Technology to Empower Families to Make Better College Financing Decisions” tapping into his experience in education finance beginning as a student at Boston University, as a Congressional staff member, as CFO of a student lending provider, and most importantly, as a parent.  Today we see that higher education is now more critical than ever, but also even more expensive.  John shares his experience to demonstrate how far technology has come to help families make smarter decisions about their college financing by looking at the big picture outcomes while understanding each student’s educational needs along their journey.

Looking forward to an exciting and educational experience at the 2016 Annual Conference on Financial Literacy!

“Reflecting on 20 Years of 529s” with Peter Mazareas: 2016 College Savings Foundation Annual Conference

Invite Education Co-Founder, Peter Mazareas will participate in the opening session of the 2016 College Savings Foundation Annual Conference in Jacksonville, Florida on March 8-10. He will moderate and present in the kickoff session entitled “Reflecting on 20 Years of 529sCollege Savings Foundation Peter Mazareas

The panel of experts will review the evolution of 529 Plans and milestones and assess where
the Industry is today and prospects for growth in the future.   What have been the biggest challenges, successes and failures What can be done differently to increase participation and awareness?


The Panelists include:

  • William W. Montjoy, Honorary Chairman and Senior Counsel, Global Education Group
  • Richard A. Davies, Senior Managing Director, Global Head of Defined Contribution and Multi-Asset Business Development, Alliance Bernstein
    • Recently Served as Vice President for Oppenheimer Funds and Director of College Savings Plans

Originally introduced in 1996, a “529” is a tax advantaged savings plan named after the very section of the IRS tax code, authorized by federal law and implemented at the state level.  It was after 2001-2002 that qualified distributions became tax free and popularity for the program soared.  Today, 529’s are widely available, provide a valuable college savings option, and have assets over $220 billion.  However, this only represents a fraction of total educational costs in addition to over $1 Trillion in student loan debt outstanding.

As part of the College Savings Foundation Annual Conference this panel discussion is one of many excellent topics covered throughout the event.

Follow on Twitter for more updates: @InviteEducation