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K-State Today

January 28, 2015

Powercat Financial Counseling celebrates five-year anniversary

Submitted by Jodi Kaus

PFC photo

Powercat Financial Counseling is celebrating its five-year anniversary of providing free financial education to Kansas State University students. The anniversary celebration will be from noon to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 4, in the K-State Student Union courtyard.

Student government leaders and supporters will be on hand to speak about the successes of the program, and current and former peer financial counselors and Powercat Financial Counseling Student Advisory Board members will be recognized.

The Powercat Financial Counseling program opened its doors in 2009 and has since filled a major void for student financial education on topics that range from responsible credit card use to budgeting and saving as well as protection from identity theft. The program has been wildly successful, reporting more than 1,700 individual student financial counseling sessions and more than 23,000 attendees to group financial workshops and presentations.

"I think that the program's success stems from the fact that this really was a student-driven venture," said Jodi Kaus, program director. "Our student government representatives and their members researched and approached administration with the idea to create and pay for a center that would help students gain essential knowledge about their financial affairs. Faculty and staff came together with students to bring that idea into reality."

The program has since expanded to provide online counseling for distance learning students and on-site services to veterinary medicine students. It also provides students and alumni a free membership to SaltMoney.org, with mini courses on money management, created by American Student Assistance.

The program provides Kansas State University students in finance-related majors with important professional training as peer counselors. The peer counselor training is intense, lasting approximately one semester and involving education about the counseling process as well as office policies and procedures, and observations made by Kaus as students put their knowledge into practice. Along the way, peer counselors and student clients alike benefit from a student mentoring a fellow student on positive financial behaviors.

"Our financial education services have grown each and every semester since our inception and it's exciting to see how the program has become a leader of innovative best practices for student financial education in its first five years of existence," Kaus said.