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K-State Today

September 25, 2019

Powercat Financial celebrating 10th anniversary

Submitted by Alexis Bestwick

Powercat Financial is celebrating its 10-year anniversary of providing free financial education to Kansas State University students. The celebration will be from noon to 1:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 30, in the K-State Student Union courtyard. 

Student leaders past and present, and supporters will be on hand to speak about the successes of the program. Current and former peer financial counselors and Powercat Financial Student Advisory Board members will be recognized for their services. An announcement will also be made about the launch of an exciting new initiative training students in residence halls as residential financial specialists who can help refer students who may benefit from Powercat Financial's services.

"As the first peer-to-peer financial education program in Kansas, we're very proud of what Powercat Financial has done to prepare our students for financial wellness," said Emily Lehning, interim vice provost for enrollment management. "Financial literacy is a valuable tool we can provide students with now, to prepare them for further professional success. Often students can be hesitant to talk about money, meeting with a peer to discuss their finances can be an impactful way to ease this stress and allow students to become more comfortable having these important discussions. We're excited about the lasting influence this program can achieve in better preparing our students for navigating their financial futures."

The Powercat Financial program began in 2009 and has since filled a major void for student financial education on topics that range from college financial planning to budgeting and saving, and responsible use of credit. The program has been wildly successful, reporting more than 4,000 individual student financial counseling sessions, and more than 53,000 attendees to group financial workshops and financial events. More than 350 students have served as peer financial counselors or Student Advisory Board members for Powercat Financial during the past 10 years. A dedicated center was provided for the program on the Union's third floor upon the renovation of the Union in 2017.

"I think that the program's success stems from the fact that it is a student-driven venture," said Jodi Kaus, program director. "Our students are passionate about helping fellow students make their transition from financial dependence to financial independence successfully and helping them achieve their financial goals, whether it be reducing student loan debt or creating a spending plan to manage their college expenses."

The program also provides online counseling for distance learning students and veterinary medicine students. It also offers students free access to CashCourse.org with mini-courses on money management created by the National Endowment for Financial Education. Powercat Financial provides students in finance-related majors with important professional training as peer counselors. The training is robust, lasting approximately one semester and involving education about the counseling process as well as office policies, procedures, and session observations as students put their knowledge into practice. Along the way, peer counselors and students alike benefit from a student mentoring a fellow student on positive financial behaviors.

"It's exciting to see how the program has become a leader of innovative best practices for college peer-to-peer financial education in its 10 years of existence," Kaus said. "We can't wait to see what the next 10 years holds for Powercat Financial."