MasterCard International today announced the selection of the “Are You Credit Wise?” class of 2001, a group of outstanding peer-educators who will execute this award-winning financial education initiative. These individuals will lead a semester-long, campus-wide effort to educate their fellow students about fundamental money management skills, from basic budgeting to bill payment, to responsible use of credit and debit.
Developed in 1999 with the support of national student leaders, MasterCard’s “Are You Credit Wise?” is designed to train students to become peer-educators and help the student body, especially college freshmen, in understanding key financial concepts.
“Student focus groups and campus pilot projects have demonstrated to us that there is strong value in equipping college students to deliver financial facts to their peers,” said Catherine Cummings, MasterCard’s vice president of consumer affairs. “In many ways, students are better able to communicate in a variety of campus environments, without lecturing, and they understand the financial challenges and other pressures of campus life,” she said.
In 2001, students attending University of Georgia, Oklahoma State University, San Diego State University, Florida State University, Duke University, University of Virginia, Rutgers University, Howard University, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and others will lead “Are You Credit Wise?” programs on these campuses. Over the last two years, students at dozens of other selected schools have distributed these educational materials.
Recognizing that money is a critical issue for most undergraduate students, the program seeks every available opportunity to offer smart money management tips. The peer-educators typically hold campus workshops, host informal financial presentations, distribute informational fliers and hang posters around campus. Also, they coordinate with professors, deans, orientation directors, resident advisors and campus organizations to identify additional opportunities.
Cummings continued, “Once we explain that our consumer education information contains no sales or marketing messages, campus officials have been eager to help us spread the word because they understand, as we do at MasterCard, that many students are managing money full time, for the first time. While we all experience a degree of trial and error, we don’t want that process to be the only education college students receive on their finances,” she said.
When students need more in-depth information, the peer-educators refer them to MasterCard’s non-commercial, education web site, www.creditalk.com, which offers a glossary of financial terms and interactive features that help students establish a workable budget and calculate credit charges. The web site also provides links to additional resources and credit counseling organizations.
“Are You Credit Wise?” is one of several MasterCard education programs for the college consumer. Another is the Money Talks initiative, cosponsored by College Parents of America. The Money Talks brochure and on-campus seminars are designed to encourage and support parents so that they can teach the financial facts of life to their high school and college students. Since its initial printing, more than 75,000 copies of Money Talks have been distributed directly to parents, or to colleges for their parent orientation programs. The Money Talks brochure also can be viewed online at .
MasterCard International has the most comprehensive portfolio of payment brands in the world. More than 1 billion MasterCardÂ®, CirrusÂ® and MaestroÂ® logos are present on credit, charge and debit cards in circulation today. An association comprised of more than 20,000 member financial institutions, MasterCard serves consumers and businesses, both large and small, in 210 countries and territories. MasterCard is the leader in quality and innovation, offering a wide range of payment solutions in the virtual and traditional worlds. With more than 19 million acceptance locations, no card is accepted in more places and by more merchants than the MasterCard Card. In 1999, gross dollar volume exceeded US$725 billion. MasterCard can be reached through its World Wide Web site at .