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

Gen Z wants to Save $: Lessons from #AmericaSavesWeek

Times are changing! It was an exciting #AmericaSavesWeek Feb 27-March 4 and much was learned. Check your socials for #ASW17 or #ASW2017 for loads of financial wisdom and motivation from a variety of institutions. If you ever wonder if it’s making an impact, remember a new generation “Gen-Z” grew up in the “Financial Crises” era with a different view  of money not seen since the Great Depression, so get ready to roll out even more financial literacy content to support their goals and share prosperity!

A study from the Gild featured on explains:

“Yet Gen Z were shown to be a generation of savers having grown up post-financial crash, with 25% saying they would rather save for the future than spend money they don’t have and 22% saying they never spend on “unnecessary, frivolous things” because saving is so important. These attitudes were shared with the Silent Generation, with 43% and 25% of respectively.”

The study also notes that this is a generation that grew up with the internet and is accustomed to information being made available quickly on any modern device. It’s a long way from the dial-up modem days!

Feel old yet? THINK AGAIN! Traditional institutions like banks, credit unions, educational non-profits and 529 providers are in position to grow using a combination of new technology and time tested wisdom already present in your culture.  Technology is more socialized with Gen Z to where expectations for simple online tools has grown. They have goals and want to move forward. Will your organization help or hinder this process? Here’s a few ideas:

What is your narrative? Even if you think your organization doesn’t have one, or maybe it’s to “maximize shareholder value” (No small feat), your group’s goals are a piece of the greater story Gen-Z is living through.  Are you helping them get where they want to be? If the answer is a resounding “YES” then stick to it and continue to empower Gen-Z with your traditions adapted up to new technology.  Yes, you can promote financial literacy to a new generation of savvy savers and they want to engage your organization to do so!

Your content can provide both sides of the story: Let’s face it, it’s a noisy environment on social media. There appears to be a storm in every news cycle, and the cycles are happening faster than ever!   The good news is your organization does not need to pick sides on hot media topics (Education, Healthcare, Government are astoundingly media driven at times), it just needs to know both sides of the story.  If you are sticking with a principled narrative, you help people guide themselves through any situation using your concepts and ideas. Gen Z is very aware that a single story may be interpreted in many different ways, so instead of pushing an agenda, keep it simple and show both sides of the story while promoting honest dialogue.  Keep your comments section open to allow different views to participate and communicate perspective on your content.

Help with decision making first: There’s a lot of options! We’ve learned this first hand at Invite Education with software covering the financial variables related to college attendance. With over 4,000 institutions of higher learning plus a huge scholarship database, the best thing we can do is provide transparency and financial literacy fundamentals to help families make smart decisions.  We realize there is no perfect “one way” for everyone, so we take a “Consumer Reports” approach to the question of college choice.  This way anyone can use the resources and find what they need.  Just let people make their own personal decisions with your organization’s assistance.  This is far removed from the days of pushing product first on radio or tv.  It’s about targeting the goals of your audience first and providing value with products/services supporting those goals featured second.  Gen-Z is ready to move their life forward, are you ready to help?

Learn more about Invite Education; Subscribe to the Youtube Page for great interviews, college planning advice and more.

Provide the benefits of better college planning

So many great benefits are being provided to employees through smart use of technology combined with insightful knowledge.  Just take a look at how employers like PwC are providing student loan repayment programs with Gradifi, or how companies can utilize Student Loan Genius to encourage employees to successfully repay student loan debt, even going so far as to match payments like a 401(k).

But all this focus on student loan debt begs the question:

Wouldn’t it be better if students could finish college with less debt in the first place?

Invite Education offers a complete planning platform that’s perfect for families managing the college process as early as Pre-K all the way to senior year of high school.  We make college savings the first priority to help families take control of their future plans. Along the way, as the student progresses grade by grade, admissions and testing criteria are highlighted in preparation for the academic competitiveness involved.  As college nears, scholarships and financial aid are highlighted along with cost analysis and comparisons to help finalize school choice.  Finally, after all other funding avenues have been secured, student lending insight is provided to help families make wise decisions about debt.

Taking the “big picture” approach helps benefit long term planners with smart college decisions early helping to ease future student loan debt burdens.  Some parents may still be paying off their student loans now, and want to find a better way to help their child.  You can make this program available for your employees 24/7 and customize it to fit with your pre-existing benefits package.

Invite Education: Are you ready to Learn More?

Request A Demo Today




Before you offer college scholarships, look at this…

You’ve done everything right by your community.  From financial literacy outreach to free seminars, to helpful learning materials assisting students on their way to college.

But what happens to all that work when it’s time to convert it to new members/customers and associated products?  Turns out it’s tough to measure. Let’s face it, it takes an incredible amount of energy to provide great financial literacy knowledge to the public, but as any teacher knows, every student follows their own learning path.  What’s interesting about financial literacy is that while anyone can learn it in in the classroom, not everyone will apply it in their life.  That is until they face a challenge where financial literacy is needed, and suddenly it becomes a major point of focus. It’s at that moment the old saying “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear” becomes realized.  Except today, that new teacher is available online 24/7 through virtually all digital devices.

How do you keep up with that? 

You provide a scholarship: It’s still a great idea representing the noble goal of education.  It always draws immediate attention, especially when providing financial literacy to the greater public.  The problem is simply supply and demand.  Only a handful, if not just one student will qualify for your scholarship.  What about all the other students that still plan to pursue higher education?

You Invite Education: It’s simple. Students deserve a better college planning experience, and you can deliver. When offering scholarships to your local community, take the opportunity to provide more. Invite Education offers comprehensive tools that cover testing, admissions, college savings and financial aid along with a scholarship search engine to locate even more funding. Continue to help all students pursue their college dreams beyond your scholarship program for positive community engagement.

Ready to learn more?

Request A Demo Today


It’s all about “Digital Customer Acquisition”

2016 is looking like a breakthrough year for #FinTech, where institutions of all stripes ranging from money mangers, banks and credit unions are upgrading to serve their new digital customers.

It’s all about digital customer acquisition.  Who’s got it and who doesn’t?

Financial institutions are taking cues from other industries using customer-centric apps, tools and platforms that simply make life easier.

Or as Jim Marous says, technology is “…removing friction from the customer journey” turning financial decisions into a virtual trip to the finish line.

To get an idea of how this change is orchestrated,  take a look at this graphic from Kyle Nakatsuji’s guest spot on the CBinsights blog. Kyle goes deep on insurance distribution trends, but I think this diagram can morph to many financial services.

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 4.42.02 PM

The two big takeaways:

  1. Expect “…continuing development of online agencies, including mobile-first channels…”
  2. Turn your customers questions into solutions/revenue using “..incidental sales platforms.”

All Roads lead back to digital customer acquisition: Invite Education fits right into the new paradigm with simple strategy. Families engage your white labeled platform via the web or mobile and gain answers to all the normally expected questions. “How much will it cost?” and “Can I get Admitted?” are the billion dollar questions being solved everyday, but it does not stop there. Real college questions take more than one moment to solve.  It takes follow-up, grade-by-grade, to piece together a strategy building up to high school graduation and beyond.  Simply dropping information on a family during Junior/Senior year of high school is not a plan, and introducing financial products out of context to a family’s actual needs creates frustration.  Instead, a more tailored approach is in grasp by building the audience your firm already has access to, but until now had less to offer.  Yes, your digital customer is looking for answers.  Instead of referring them to Google and your competitors, refer them back to your own program and pick up their email address for followup as you grow with their financial needs.

Are you ready to take the next step in your digital customer acquisition strategy?

Join our next demo and learn how Invite Education makes all the difference:

Request A Demo Today





“I wish I had this when I went to College…”

We hear it during our demos from anyone that attended college.  That’s because our solution is simple and effective.  Here’s why:

  1.  A better college cost calculator: Invite Education has a comprehensive college cost calculator to help any family zero in on financial ai