Arlington, TX – October 5, 2010 – Tackling the problem of financial illiteracy among Texas teenagers head-on, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst and Visa Inc., with help from the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) and Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Miles Austin, today announced the statewide rollout of an effort to improve the money management skills of high school and middle school students. Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst will be distributing free copies of "Financial Football" – an interactive money management video game with an NFL theme – to every high school and middle school in Texas.
Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst kicked off this new financial literacy campaign today at Juan Seguin High School with help from Visa officials, FCCLA representatives and Miles Austin. Austin shared his personal experiences on the importance of money management with students from Juan Seguin High School. Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst and Austin then rolled up their sleeves and led student teams in a lively game of "Financial Football."
The centerpiece of Visa's nationwide educational initiative with the NFL and NFL PLAYERS, "Financial Football" helps students tackle their financial futures. This computer-based game is accompanied by a classroom curriculum.
"Financial Football is a great way to get students interested in personal finances and give them a financial playbook they can use the rest of their lives. This is a valuable program and a great partnership between my office, Visa, FCCLA, and the NFL," said Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst.
"Kids need to know how to make smart money management decisions early in life," said Austin. "It takes the combined efforts of parents, teachers and mentors within the community to give teenagers a strong background in personal finance."
"FCCLA is proud to help provide valuable financial education materials to all the middle schools and high schools in Texas," said Sharon Pierce, State Advisor, FCCLA. "FCCLA programs focus on teaching life skills like financial education and we feel this program is a perfect fit for helping students learn the practical application of money management and savings."
Demonstrating broad-based support for having financial education begins at home and extends to the classroom, a recent study released by Visa shows 91 percent of consumers surveyed believe all high school students should take a financial education class before graduating.
Visa, FCCLA and Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst hope "Financial Football" can help Texas teens do just that. Available online at www.texas.financialfootball.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.
This launch is part of a national educational campaign with Visa, the NFL and NFL PLAYERS, now in its sixth season. Since 2006, Visa has reached agreements with twenty-eight states to distribute "Financial Football" to every high school in those states, including Texas. The other states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin. As part of this campaign, Texas will also distribute the game to every middle school in the state.
"For over a decade, Visa has been committed to promoting financial literacy and we are proud to assist Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst in his efforts to strengthen financial education throughout Texas," said Denise Dunckel, Senior Director of Corporate Relations, 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 Visa Inc.
Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable digital currency. Underpinning digital currency is one of the world's most advanced processing networks – VisaNet – that is capable of handling more than 10,000 transactions a second, with fraud protection for consumers and guaranteed payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank, and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa's innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: Pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit usa.visa.com/about-visa/our_business.html.
About Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst
Lt. Governor David Dewhurst is a native Houstonian, successful businessman, rancher and U.S. military veteran. He was first elected Texas Land Commissioner in 1998 and has twice been elected by the people of Texas to serve as Lt. Governor and President of the Texas Senate.
Lt. Governor Dewhurst believes every child in Texas deserves a quality education. In 2006, he fought successfully to raise teacher salaries and educational standards, increase accountability and reduce student drop-out rates, while leading the Senate in approving $7 billion per year in local school property tax cuts. To make university study more affordable, Dewhurst worked to hold down tuition increases and provide more financial aid to deserving students, including passing the "B-on-Time Loan Program," which provides college students with zero-interest, forgivable loans if they graduate on time with at least a "B" average. In 2009, he worked to increase funding for public schools and universities by $3.1 billion. He helped pass legislation to phase out the TAKS test in high schools and end "teaching to the test."
About Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA)
Today's teens want to make a difference in their own lives and in their communities. Fortunately, there is an organization to help them. Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) is a nonprofit national career and technical student organization for young men and women through grade 12 with family as its central focus. Across the state more than 17,800 students are involved in FCCLA: The Ultimate Leadership Experience. FCCLA members become leaders in their families, careers, and communities. Everyone benefits when a chapter is formed and projects are completed. Projects reflect a variety of youth concerns, including teen pregnancy, parenting, family relationships, community service, peer pressure, texting and driving, financial literacy, nutrition and fitness, teen violence prevention, and career exploration. For more information, go to www.fcclainc.org; www.texasfccla.org or your school's Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher.