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200 Students Participate in Reality Fair with 17 Vendors
Monday, November 21, 2016 7:00 AM

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Approximately 200 high school juniors and seniors from Killeen ISD and Lampasas ISD were just served a lesson in reality with a lifelike simulation fair in Killeen, Texas.

Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), in partnership with Texas Partners Federal Credit Union, hosted its very first CU 4 Reality Fair on Wednesday, Nov. 16 at the Killeen Civic & Convention Center (3601 South W S Young Drive).

Hypothetical careers and salaries were given to the students at random. They were provided an income broken into a monthly amount with taxes taken out. From there, the students visited 15 different booths with more than 17 vendors to get a hands-on lesson about budgeting in the real world.

“This is the perfect time to start teaching these students about real-life budgeting situations," said Texas Partners FCU EVP of Compliance Phyllis Love. "These juniors and seniors are getting ready to make important choices about higher education and future careers. We hope that because of the Reality Fair, they will be better prepared as they pursue opportunities after high school and beyond.”

Participating vendors included: Farmers Insurance, Scott & White Healthcare, Verizon, Dodge Country, Dillard’s, HEB, Texas Humane Heroes, Fieldhouse Gym, Handprint Academy, Texas Workforce Solutions, Greystar Apartment Communities, and Texas Partners FCU Mortgage Partners.

It was the hope of the GEAR UP program and Texas Partners FCU that the juniors and seniors would learn valuable lessons on budgeting, the cost of living, and the importance of choosing a career that matches up with the type of lifestyle they wish to live.

“Some of the students said it was a real ‘wake-up call’ when they budgeted up to $1,000 more than what they could afford to live off of based on their hypothetical incomes," said Love. "The Reality Fair spinning wheel section also helped offer a view of life’s surprises. Students were able to spin the wheel and receive either a boost in income, such as a gift from grandma – or an unexpected life expense, such as a speeding ticket.”

Representatives from Central Texas College and the U.S. Army were also on hand to talk with students about options for paying for college.

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About Texas Partners Federal Credit Union
Chartered in 1953 to serve civilian employees stationed in Fort Hood, Texas Partners FCU now serves more than 18,000 members within the Killeen, Harker Heights, Temple, Belton, and Copperas Cove communities. The credit union has six branches with a mission to improve Central Texans’ lives through financial education and community outreach. For more information, please visit

About Gaining Early Awareness & Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP)
GEAR UP is designed to help young Americans stay in school, develop good study skills, and take the right courses to go to college. A partnership funded by the U.S. Department of Education, the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) college link is administered in Central Texas by ESC Region 12 to give qualifying students the skills, encouragement, and preparation to pursue a college education. Focusing on early intervention beginning in middle school, the program serves students as they progress through middle school and high school.