Date of Graduation

Winter 12-11-2020

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)


School of Education


Teaching English as a Second Language

First Advisor

Luz Navarrette Garcia


Latino immigrants face many financial challenges in the United States. Language barriers exclude them from jobs as well as financial and consumer markets. Lack of familiarity with the U.S. financial system or bad experiences with financial systems in their home countries can create mistrust and lead to Latino immigrants being unbanked or underbanked. Consumer vulnerabilities may also be exploited as immigrants turn to nonbank financial services such as predatory lenders (check cashers, payday lenders, etc.). Lack of access to jobs and marketplaces results in lower income and less wealth accumulation. Over time this results in wealth inequality between Latino immigrants and the native-born population. Additionally, English as a second language (ESL) courses often cover personal finance in a cursory manner or with the focus of obtaining a job such as in vocational ESL (VESL) courses. Moreover, financial literacy books and courses are often geared toward the white middle and upper classes leaving both immigrants and low-income populations excluded. Because both wealth and financial knowledge are often transferred from parent to child, wealth inequality grows across generations.

The purpose of this project is to create a guidebook for ESL teachers to provide financial literacy instruction to Latino immigrants. The field project takes the form of a week by week curriculum framework that can be customized to the needs of the class. It covers a broad range of financial topics (budgeting, saving, investing, consumer protection, etc.). The lessons improve communicative competence by strengthening all language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing). Students will receive culturally responsive lessons that teach practical knowledge empowering them to have more control over their financial futures. The curriculum serves the dual purpose of improving English proficiency and increasing financial literacy which will help overcome barriers and decrease wealth inequality.