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Powercat Financial Counseling

December 2009

Powercat Financial Counseling
Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS

Meet the volunteers at Powercat Financial Counseling, a team committed to giving the roughly 20,000 students at Kansas State University some much-needed guidance on the topics of personal finance. The brand new organization opened its doors this year, thanks to efforts championed by the school’s student government, who saw a growing need for free, confidential, financial counseling.

Powercat will operate primarily with volunteers, a mix of undergraduate and graduate students at K-State. Many are pursuing finance related degrees, so the work they are doing not only helps the broader student population, but also provides valuable training for their own futures in business, finance or human services.

Jodi Kaus, who holds a CTFA certification and has served for several years as a financial trust offer, is leading the charge on the new venture.

"The financial issues facing college students are numerous. New freshmen are dealing with their first taste of financial freedom and responsibilities. Seniors poised to enter the workforce face issues such as budgeting with a new salary, as well as changing health care coverage and costs. And in today’s economic climate, there are many students simply struggling to stay enrolled in school and live within their current budgets.

With such a diverse mix of needs, Kaus is very excited to guide this new program. She offered strong praise for the student volunteers, calling Powercat an organization "for the students, by the students.""

Still, as their leader, Kaus brings an entrepreneurial spirit to the role.

She has already begun pooling nearby resources to help cross promote the program. Public relations students at K-State have developed a series of You Tube videos, to get the word out about Powercat’s service.

Additionally, Kaus has reached out to a local financial literacy coalition to see where Powercat’s services can work in tandem with existing community resources.

Kansas recently passed state legislation requiring that financial education be included in K-12 curriculum, but even when that curriculum is implemented consistently, Kaus believes the need for financial education at the college level will remain.

"Even with basic financial training in K-12, there are unique issues that come up when students enter college or the work force. I think this program will continue to fill a need for the student population here."

With a steady stream of students already responding to their service offerings, Kaus is optimistic about the program’s success. She expects the program will evolve as they pinpoint the areas where the team of volunteers can best serve the needs of the student body.

In addition to one-on-one peer counseling, Powercat currently offers financial workshops for any student groups on campus, free of charge.

Practical Money Skills commends Ms. Kaus and the Powercat Financial Counseling volunteers for their contributions to financial literacy, and wishes them best of luck in this new endeavor.

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