Lexington and Louisville, KY - May 6, 2008 - Tackling the problem of financial illiteracy among Kentucky teenagers head-on, Kentucky State Treasurer Todd Hollenbach and Visa Inc. today announced the statewide rollout of an effort to improve the money management skills of high school students. Treasurer Hollenbach will be distributing free copies of "Financial Football" - an interactive money management video game with an NFL theme - to every high school and public library in Kentucky.
The centerpiece of Visa's nationwide educational initiative with the NFL and PLAYERS INC, "Financial Football" helps students tackle their financial futures. This computer-based game is accompanied by a classroom curriculum and can also be downloaded for free on cell phones.
Treasurer Hollenbach kicked off this new financial literacy campaign today at Henry Clay High School in Lexington with help from Visa officials and former University of Kentucky star Quarterback André Woodson, who was just selected by the New York Giants in the 2008 NFL Draft. Woodson shared his personal experiences on the importance of money management with students.
Treasurer Hollenbach and Woodson then rolled up their sleeves and led student teams in a lively game of "Financial Football." Later in the day, Treasurer Hollenbach and Visa took the game on the road to showcase it for students at Central High School in Louisville with former University of Louisville star Quarterback Brian Brohm, who was just selected by the Green Bay Packers in the 2008 NFL Draft.
"High school kids need to know how to make smart money management decisions before heading off to college or entering the workforce," said André Woodson. "It takes the combined efforts of parents, teachers and mentors within the community to give teenagers a strong background in personal finance."
"It doesn't matter whether you make minimum wage or millions," added Brian Brohm. "If you don't learn to budget, save, invest and pay bills on time, the consequences can be devastating."
"This financial education initiative provides a winning playbook for students' financial future. This program educates while it entertains students so that they retain these valuable financial lessons," said Treasurer Hollenbach. "This program is possible because of a partnership between the State Treasurer's Office, Visa and the NFL."
Demonstrating broad-based support for having financial education begin at home and extend to the classroom, a new study released by Visa shows 91% of consumers surveyed believe all high school students should take a financial education class before graduating.
Visa and Treasurer Hollenbach hope "Financial Football" can help Kentucky teens do just that. Available online at www.practicalmoneyskills.com, "Financial Football" puts students' fiscal knowledge to the test in an online simulation game environment by combining the structure and rules of the NFL with financial education questions of varying difficulty. To score points, a team needs to answer a series of money management questions correctly. Wrong answers and penalties can cost a team yardage. The team with the highest point total after four quarters wins the game.
Today's event is part of a national educational campaign with Visa, the NFL and PLAYERS INC., now in its fourth season. Since 2006, Visa has reached agreements with sixteen states to distribute "Financial Football" to every high school in those states, including Kentucky. The other states are West Virginia, Indiana, Ohio, California, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Wisconsin, Nevada, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont and Arizona.
The online version of "Financial Football" has been downloaded more than 200,000 times and in 2007, "Financial Football" became a free, first-of-its-kind cell phone game. Mobile customers can play the game on their cell phones by texting the word VISA to 24421.
"For over a decade, Visa has been committed to promoting financial literacy and we are proud to have both André Woodson and Brian Brohm with us as we assist Treasurer Hollenbach in his efforts to strengthen financial education efforts throughout Kentucky," said Jason Alderman, director of financial education, Visa Inc.
"Financial Football" is part of Practical Money Skills for Life (www.practicalmoneyskills.com), a free, award-winning, teacher-tested and teacher-approved financial education program that is available in English, Spanish and Chinese. The program contains three comprehensive sections, complete with money management resources and lesson plans tailored for use at home, in the classroom or at work. It also contains an array of tips to help prepare for life changing financial events, from planning for a baby to saving for college and retirement, as well as a number of other budget calculators and interactive games. Visa also runs What's My Score (www.whatsmyscore.org), a leading higher education consumer awareness program. The website guides college students through the ABC's of a FICO credit score, from factors that can lower a score to ways on improving it, at no charge.
About Kentucky Treasurer Todd Hollenbach
The founders of Kentucky established the Kentucky State Treasury in 1792. Since then the office has evolved over time to house three divisions, General Administration and Support, Disbursements and Accounting, and Unclaimed Properties. The Treasury handles over $225 billion dollars in electronic deposits, checks, and cash. The Treasurer of Kentucky is Todd Hollenbach of Louisville. Elected in 2007, he serves a four-year term. To find out more about the Kentucky Treasury or to contact us, please visit our website, www.kytreasury.com.
About Visa USA
Visa Inc. operates the world's largest retail electronic payments network providing processing services and payment product platforms. This includes consumer credit, debit, prepaid and commercial payments, which are offered under the Visa, Visa Electron, Interlink and PLUS brands. Visa enjoys acceptance around the world, and Visa/PLUS is one of the world's largest global ATM networks, offering cash access in local currency in more than 170 countries. For more information, visit www.visa.com.