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iQ Credit Union Under Construction for the 2023-2024 School Year

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iQ Credit Union at CHS

At Camas High School (CHS), students pour into the Lunch Box daily during lunch for exclusive drinks and Joe-Yos. However, on the opposite side of the hallway, shutters down and lights off, the iQ Credit Union (iQCU) does not get as much attention. But it has not always been like this, and students can expect to see that space turned into a merchandise store to postpone the opening of the credit union for the 2024-2025 school year. 

iQ Credit Union advertising poster

The iQ credit union has been in CHS for many years, as the branch was master planned into the construction of the school back in 2004, with the storefront equipped with a vault and electronics. Through a class called “Financial Services: iQCU,” students learn the necessary responsibilities of a bank teller and relevant skills they could add to their resume. 

“Students can gain critical skills related to personal finance, networking, and credentials for working in an actual iQ branch,” CHS marketing teacher Courtney Sanchez said.

Many students have found internship opportunities and external connections through this collaboration between iQ and CHS.

“The iQ Credit Union is a teacher’s credit union, founded with the intent to spread financial education,” CTE Director Derek Jaques said, “Part of the model is to ‘learn by doing.’”

The credit union is a storefront that students see every day. However, waning student and staff use and decreasing participation has caused the CHS branch to decline. For nearly a decade, student engagement on both sides of the register has been fading.

“If you go back ten years, there was no online banking. Everyone needed the in-person branch to make withdrawals and deposits,” Jacques said.

When the school shifted toward online banking, in-person transactions occurred less often. As a result, the iQCU also had fewer transactions.

“It reached a point where there were only two to three transactions for both lunches,” CHS senior and former iQCU student Kieren Malone said.

iQ Credit Union storefront in CHS Main Commons

In an email to the CHS staff, Jaques said, “As a result of low activity and low student enrollment forecasted for ‘23-’24, we decided to spend the school year working with iQ Credit Union to reconfigure what the campus branch locations look like. Our goal is to bring back the Campus Branch program again in ‘24-’25 in a reconfigured format.”

Many students and staff are excited about the upcoming changes to this location. Some suggestions include selling merchandise, opening a yearbook stand, and partnering with Subway to sell food.

“Honestly, I like the idea of having a Camas merchandise store so I don’t have to go to that little store downtown,” CHS student Kaylii Woods said.

Regardless, it becomes increasingly important that these hidden career-building and personal growth classes like iQCU are made apparent to the student body. With about 18 students, the iQCU can once more jump-start its place at CHS.

“[The problem] is not exactly that we should replace the credit union with something else, but it’s more of an issue with how the school tells students about these courses,” CHS junior and former iQCU student Derebe Smith said, “It’s an amazing program that allows students to advance their careers and prepare for their futures.”

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Florence Liang, Staff Writer

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