USU partnership works to reduce poverty

Utah State University Cooperative Extension and the Utah Individual Development Account Network (UIDAN), a program of AAA-Fair Credit Foundation and a multi-faceted financial education and matched-savings program, are in partnership to break the cycle of poverty and move low-income, working Utahns into the financial mainstream.Adrie Roberts, USU Cooperative Extension Family and Consumer Sciences professor, says program participants are at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. The program helps them complete personal financial management education, save regularly in a matched saving/investment account called an “Individual Development Account” and purchase one of four approved productive assets.”It’s a private, non-profit organization that receives funding just to help low-income people get into homes, go to school, or start a business,” Roberts said of the funding which comes from AAA-Fair Credit Foundation in Salt Lake City. “It’s private donations.”The assets participants can work toward include first homes, business start-ups/capitalizations, post-secondary education and assistive technology for work-related activities. The program matches participants with $3 to every $1 they save, up to $1,500.On KVNU’s Crosstalk show Thursday, Roberts said UIDAN will contribute up to $4,500 and the $6,000 can then be used to purchase the approved asset. She said a significant number of USU students have taken advantage of the incentive program.”USU Extension county offices around the state have been involved in teaching the eight hours of financial management classes that pre-qualify participants to start the matched savings program,” Robers continued. “This program is definitely changing people’s lives.”

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