UW-L financial program earns state award

Feb. 27, 2014

Student teaching class.

UW-L Financial Literacy Coordinator Amanda Gasper leads a presentation for students. The university’s It Make$ Cents! financial literacy program has received a 2013 Wisconsin Financial Literacy Award from the Department of Financial Institutions. Photo by UW-L student Hanqing Wu.

 

Literacy program recognized for second straight year

Efforts by UW-La Crosse students to educate classmates about managing their finances have added up to state recognition for the second year in a row.

The university’s It Make$ Cents! financial literacy program has received a 2013 Wisconsin Financial Literacy Award from the Department of Financial Institutions. The program was one of only 13 organizations and seven individuals recognized for promoting financial literacy at the state capitol Feb. 26. The other area program honored was Altra Federal Credit Union of Onalaska.

The award is a huge honor, says Financial Literacy Coordinator Amanda Gasper. “We are so grateful to have the governor’s support and recognition,” she says. “This is extremely rewarding for our It Make$ Cents peer mentors because they want to help their peers — they want to make a difference in people’s lives. This shows they are having an impact and are part of something meaningful.”

Photo of Governor with staff.

Receiving the state award for the It Make$ Cents program from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker were, from left, Amanda Gasper, Louise Janke and Jen Weber.

Gasper says the program is successful because it provides content on financial topics that directly relate to students. Some of those topics include saving over the summer, relationships and money, financial tips for spring break, couponing 101, and how to build credit positively.

“We have many partners with organizations on and off campus we collaborate with to educate the overall student population,” Gasper notes.

A program to educate students on personal finance is unusual on most UW campuses. “We believe we are the first UW campus to have a money management center where students can go and talk with a peer about financial questions or challenges,” says Gasper. “We also will help students map out a budget.”

It Make$ Cents! formed in 2012 and has grown to include 12 peer mentors in a money management center in Centennial Hall. Fun and innovative programs and events are held through the academic year to equip students with knowledge, skills and resources needed to integrate and maintain lifelong financial wellness.

More than 1,000 students participated in It Make$ Cents! workshops, presentations and events during 2013. In addition, the student mentors take financial literacy programs to area high school students.

Find out more about the program at www2.uwlax.edu/it-makes-cents/.