UW financial literacy program wins Governor’s Award

January 13, 2017 By Käri Knutson

MADISON – The Financial Life Skills Program in the School of Human Ecology was one of 15 recipients of the 2016 Governor’s Financial Literacy Award.

Criteria included innovative implementation, demonstrated measurable results, collaboration with partners, and whether the effort was focused on needs-based groups.

“These individuals and organizations have a significant impact on citizens of all ages across the state by helping to enhance their personal financial knowledge and skills,” Governor Scott Walker said. “By developing their financial capabilities, our citizens become more savvy consumers, improve their quality of life, and, in the process, contribute to strengthening our economy.”

The recipients will be honored at a ceremony at the Capitol later this year.

The program provides financial wellness resources to all students, staff, and faculty.

“This innovative course is designed to provide UW–Madison students with practical life skills, knowledge and experiential learning they will need to be successful after graduation,” says Soyeon Shim, Dean of the School of Human Ecology.

The course is led in part by an instructor from the financial industry (often times alums of the program themselves). Each weekly topic begins with relevant articles, video, and/or self-assessments prior to an in person classroom setting to engage students and force them to think about a financial issue in a manner they might not have in the past.

Heading the program is Linda Lepe, director of Consumer Finance and Financial Planning Program for the School of Human Ecology.

Enrollment in the program has grown from nearly 200 last spring to more than 300 during this fall term and will include more than 500 students per semester beginning in the spring of 2017.

The course launched in 2014 with seed funding from the UW Credit Union and the Chancellor’s Office, and works in partnership with the UW–Madison Office of Financial Aid.