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The Parent’s Night Out

Financial Literacy For The Next Step

Who said that only students can celebrate back-to-school? While the frenzy of back-to-school events in the fall are the perfect way to get students excited about the upcoming school year, Bank of North Dakota’s inaugural “Parent Launch Party” event is designed to help parents of high school students feel prepared, confident and knowledgeable about the next chapter of their student’s life.

Jeff Weiler, Chief Innovation Officer (left), and Rachel LaForce, University and Student Development Coordinator (right), of Bank of North Dakota stand at the Essentia Health Plaza at The Lights in West Fargo, where the inaugural “Parent Launch Party” will be held. 

West Fargo Events and the Bank of North Dakota (BND) are hosting an educational event for the parents of Cass County students, with an emphasis on parents whose children are in their junior and senior years of high school.

Rachel LaForce, University and Student Development Coordinator at BND, said it’s important for parents and students to know their available options for whatever they choose to do after high school, whether that is college, the military or the workforce.

“Once a student has narrowed down their options, they might not know how to make it financially feasible for them,” LaForce said. “We’ve been hearing from parents that they don’t know what they should be doing to help their students, we want this event to help parents equip and educate their students.”

From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on August 31 at the Essentia Health Plaza at the Lights, this two-hour event will be energetic, excitementfilled and educational, while also providing food and live entertainment. Various booths will be open for parents to mingle to and from, providing a chance to talk to industry-specific professionals from BND, Dollars for Scholars, local banks and financial institutions, the North Dakota State University System and more. Parents can ask about anything from credit score to student loan options to dual credit opportunities.

“A part of our mission at BND is to help the citizens of ND to be successful, whether it’s business, agriculture or education,” Jeff Weiler, Chief Innovation Officer at BND, said. “Traditionally, when people think of college, they think about taking out a student loan— but there are other options. We’re trying to teach parents about those options, which I think fulfills our mission”

Round-robin-style activities will allow parents to talk to other parents who are going through the same learning process. They can share ideas and information with each other while getting help from those industry professionals.

The other post high school options mentioned by Weiler and LaForce for financing besides just student loans include scholarships, dual credit courses, evaluating jobs in demand, starting to save early on and more.

You’re Invited


High School Parent Launch Party


Wednesday, August 31 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.


Essentia Health Plaza at The Lights,
3150 Sheyenne St,
West Fargo, ND 58078

“We hope that this event gets people thinking about the financial literacy side of things, because if a student does choose to go to college, we want them to do it in a smart way,” Weiler said. “We don’t want them to take out the maximum amount of student loans and then not know how to pay them back, but to look at all the options. This event is helping to get people thinking about these things so they can start thinking about it earlier and then be successful.”

But Weiler, LaForce and the entire team at BND know that a traditional college route is not the right path for every student, a reason for having booths and representatives from the military, the Department of Commerce, the FMWF Chamber and ND Job Service. These booths allow parents to do things like ask questions and work through any concerns they might have about military enrollment. They can also speak with the ND Job Service to analyze which jobs are in high demand and apprenticeship opportunities their students could take advantage of.

“We are bringing all of these people together in one place so that parents can get all their questions answered at one time,” LaForce said.

While this event is focused on parents who have junior and senior students, parents of any high school-aged student can attend the event if they want. Learning about financial literacy and options early on is never a bad idea, no matter the age, LaForce suggests.

Student Loans Statistics

According to Forbes:

  • More than 7.6 million students age 24 or younger owe $110 billion in student debt
  • 55% of public university students have student loans
  • 57% of private university students have student loans
  • On average, each student loan borrower owes $28,950 in student loans

According to the Rockefeller Institute of Government, most high school students receive misinformation about student loans and are taught how to avoid student loan debt, rather than how to manage it.

The Bank of North Dakota

As the only state owned bank in the country, BND’s mission is to help the citizens of ND with financial services whether with education, business or agriculture. Since 1919, BND’s core values of service, teamwork, ethics and peoplecentered employees have worked to ensure their vision of creating “financial solutions for current and emerging economic needs.”

For information on business, agriculture and educational loans, and other services provided by BND, visit for more information.

Join the Bank of North Dakota on August 31 to learn more about financial literacy to better prepare both you and your student and ensure a confident future after high school, no matter where it may lead them.

You can register for this free, open-house-style event by scanning the QR code below or going to

Written by Makenzi Johnson

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