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Source: Jodi Kaus, 785-532-2889, jkaus@k-state.edu
Web site: http://www.k-state.edu/pfc
News release prepared by: Katie Mayes, 785-532-6415, kmayes@k-state.edu

Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2009

K-STATE'S POWERCAT FINANCIAL COUNSELING NAMED 2009 INNOVATIVE EDUCATOR BY VISA'S PRACTICAL MONEY SKILLS PROGRAM

MANHATTAN -- A fledgling financial literacy program at Kansas State University has been recognized by Visa's Practical Money Skills program as one of its Innovative Educators for 2009.

K-State's Powercat Financial Counseling, which opened its doors in fall 2009, provides free, confidential financial counseling to students.

The mission of the center, which is in the office of student activities and services in the K-State Student Union, is to improve the financial literacy of all students and provide professional counseling experience for students studying personal finance at K-State, who volunteer as counselors.

Jodi Kaus, director of Powercat Financial Counseling, said that many students lack the financial education they need to make many of life's critical decisions.

"We are seeing students come in with a wide variety of financial questions from the basics of budgeting and credit use, to issues surrounding home buying and debt management," she said. "The challenging economy is putting a lot of financial stress on K-State students and any help we can provide will give them a better chance at success going forward."

Innovative Educators honorees of Visa's Practical Money Skills program are selected for finding new ways to help children and adults gain financial literacy. Visa has partnered with leading consumer advocates and financial institutions to create the Practical Money Skills program, which is educator-developed and is aimed at enhancing financial literacy.

"To be recognized so early in the development of this program as providing real value to students is exciting for the peer financial counselors and K-State as a whole." Kaus said. "The Practical Money Skills program is used and recognized by financial educators and practitioners across the country. Receiving this recognition commends all the time and talent the students volunteering as peer financial counselors are providing their fellow students in the area of financial literacy."

K-State is the first regents' institution in Kansas to offer a center designed specifically to help students with personal finances.

Besides one-on-one peer counseling, Powercat Financial Counseling also offers free workshops on financial topics such as budgeting, understanding credit, identity-theft and investing.

More information on K-State's Powercat Financial Counseling is available at http://www.k-state.edu/pfc

In addition, two student-produced videos about Powercat Financial Counseling are available on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrrOJetneTQ and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5IrAsW8lwA