Since 1990, Alternatives' Student Credit Union (SCU) has provided financial education, financial services, and the opportunity for youth (under 19) to manage their own money.

Students have the opportunity to be trained as tellers and process transactions for other students.

Check out our Student Credit Union video and hear success stories from student members and their families:

Student Credit Union branch locations and times:

 Lehman Alternative Community School

111 Chestnut St.

Wednesdays 12:30pm -1:00pm


 Beverly J. Martin Elementary School

302 W. Buffalo St.

Tuesdays 7:45am - 8:00am


Cayuga Heights Elementary School

110 E. Upland Rd.

Wednesdays 7:30am - 8:00am


 Enfield Elementary School

20 Enfield Main Rd.

Wednesday s 7:45am - 8:00 am


Fall Creek Elementary School

202 King St.

Wednesdays 7:45am - 8:00am


 Belle Sherman Elementary School

 501 Mitchell St.

Tuesdays 7:45am - 8:00am


Caroline Elementary School

2439 Slaterville Rd., Slaterville Springs

 Thursdays 7:40am - 8:00am


Northeast Elementary School

425 Winthrop Dr.

Wednesdays 7:40am - 8:00am


Northern Lights Student Credit Union

St. Paul's Methodist Church

402 N. Aurora St.

 Call for hours


South Hill Elementary School

520 Hudson Street, Ithaca, NY 14850

Wednesdays 7:40am - 8:00am


Financial education begins with a savings habit. Our programs encourage students to make deposits every week no matter how small. We find that when students build their savings, they start to show interest in learning more about money.


“In a world where it is assumed that young people would rather rob a bank than work in one, Alternatives Credit Union is 'Alternative' in everything, especially in how they're willing to act toward teens."

- SCU Volunteer


In a study of college students, economics professor Angela Lyons of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found one striking similarity among those who had good financial skills: Nearly all said their parents had gotten them into the habit of saving as young children, suggesting saving is a behavior that comes from experience, not knowledge.


“I love saving every Wednesday because it is good to have money when you need it. I think that everyone should save because then they could have money for things they want or need.”

- Elementary student, age 8


Student Credit Union benefits include:    

  • A higher dividend rate than our regular savings accounts.
  • Checking accounts with no minimum balance and no monthly fees (A co-signer is necessary if the student is under 18).
  • An Alternatives Visa Debit Card is available if the student has a checking account (and is at least 14 years of age).
  • An Individual Development Account (IDA) is a matched savings plan for funding education (family must meet income requirements).


Accounts can be opened at any of our school branches or Alternatives Credit Union. The membership fee is $2.00, and a $1.00 initial deposit is required. For students whose parent or guardian is already a member of Alternatives, membership is free. 


"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."

- Benjamin Franklin

Do you have any questions?