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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 12, 2006

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Maria Hatzikonstantinou (703) 683-5004
Steve Burke (703) 683-5004

Visa USA Marks ‘Financial Literacy Month’ by Empowering Teachers

University of San Diego Collaboration Helps Educators Earn Graduate Level Money-Management Teaching Credits from Home

San Francisco, CA - The University of San Diego and Visa USA have teamed up to offer two online, continuing education money-management courses for elementary and secondary school teachers. These classes are designed to equip educators with the tools and resources needed to help students take control of their financial future, today.

This collaboration is part of Visa’s ongoing commitment to early and continuous financial education and is consistent with the goals of the National Strategy for Financial Literacy announced by the United States Treasury Department last week.

The content portion of each course incorporates the teacher-training curriculum component of Practical Money Skills for Life, an award winning, money-management program provided by Visa USA.

“Educators play a very critical role in helping young people prepare for their financial future,” said Chauncey Veatch, former National Teacher of the Year who helped develop both classes. “In addition to resources, teachers need confidence and the ability to bring a more creative approach to personal finance learning in the classroom. These courses help achieve those goals,” added Veatch.

In addition to giving teachers a firm foundation for their own finances and how to bring that into the classroom, the two University of San Diego courses, Personal Economics for Teachers and Teaching Money Management, help teachers fulfill their continuing education requirements, which is mandatory in many states. For example, California law requires all teachers hired after 1985 to complete 150 hours of continuing education classes every five years.

“For more than a decade, Visa has been committed to advancing the cause of financial literacy among all ages, and this collaboration with the University of San Diego is another extension of those efforts, especially with teachers,” said Jason Alderman, director, Visa USA. “While most children get their first money-management lessons at the dinner table, that learning must continue in the classroom,” added Alderman.

Both courses are taught online by an instructor, and they can be taken simultaneously. Students have 60 days to complete the online portion of each course and are given up to six months to complete additional assignments. These assignments include giving students the opportunity to develop a money-management plan to help them achieve a short- or long-term personal-finance goal of their choice or finding innovative ways to incorporate personal finance learning in the classroom.

Teachers who successfully complete each course earn one semester unit of graduate level extension credit. The cost for each course is $50 – making it the most affordable continuing education class offered by the University of San Diego.

“Understanding that teachers have to balance the demands of teaching and fulfilling their re-certification requirements, we wanted to make sure that they were not spending time running to and from class,” said Rennie Block, Assistant Director and Manager of Education Programs for the University of San Diego Division of Continuing Education. “They are designed to be taken in the comfort of a fun, flexible and relaxing environment.”

Teachers interested in taking these courses can register today by visiting www.usd-online.org/moneymgmt or calling 1(888) 321-6658.

About Visa USA:
Visa USA is the nation's leading payment brand and largest payment system, enabling banks to provide their consumers and business customers with a wide variety of payment alternatives tailored to meet their evolving needs. Visa USA is committed to increasing the choice, convenience, acceptance, and security of Visa payments for all stakeholders in the payment system - Members, cardholders and merchants. Through its 13,500 Member financial institutions, more than 488 million Visa-branded cards have been issued to cardholders in the United States. Last year, U.S.-based financial institutions relied on Visa's processing system, VisaNet, to facilitate $1.3 trillion in transactions with unparalleled reliability.

Worldwide, cardholders in over 150 countries carry more than 1 billion Visa-branded cards, accounting for more than $3 trillion in annual transaction volume.

Visa offers a trusted, reliable and convenient way to access and mobilize financial resources - anytime, anywhere, anyway.

About the University of San Diego:
The University of San Diego is a Catholic institution of higher learning chartered in 1949; the school enrolls some 7,200 students and is known for its commitment to teaching, the liberal arts, the formation of values and community service. The establishment of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies will bring the University’s total number of schools and colleges to six. Other academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences and the schools of Business Administration, Education, Law and Nursing and Health Sciences.

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