WESTERVILLE, OhioDec. 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — The 2019 Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education® (AFCPE®) Awards recognize individuals and organizations across the country who elevate the personal finance field through innovation, expertise, leadership, and mentorship.

“Each year I am inspired by the work that is being done by AFCPE Members to ensure that all people, regardless of income or background, have the opportunity to achieve financial security,” said Rebecca Wiggins, AFCPE Executive Director. “These special individuals and organizations tirelessly commit to their work, their organizations, their clients or students to advance our profession and set the highest standards of excellence.”

2019 AFCPE Award winners were selected through a rigorous peer-reviewed application process.

Distinguished Fellow AwardJinhee Kim, AFC®University of Maryland epitomizes what it means to be an AFCPE member. She bridges the gap between practice and research and applies the knowledge she studies to use within households and communities. She is a brilliant scholar and understands the role of education in making a difference for families.

Setting the Standard AwardIn 2015, North Carolina State Employees’ Credit Union enrolled their first round of employees in the AFC® certification program. Today, nearly 1,500 SECU employees hold the AFC designation. The AFC was part of SECU’s plan to create a more formalized financial counseling approach, and their commitment to certification reflects their desire to help members reach financial success.

Mary Ellen Edmondson Educator of the Year: Kathy Sweedler, Consumer Economics Educator, University of Illinois Extension created and manages the Financial Wellness for college students program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Center and started a Money Mentor program. Kathy also leads the charge for social media education, founding one of the first research-based blogs on personal finance education, “Plan Well, Retire Well”.

Financial Counselor of the Year: April Berggren-Batts, AFC® is a financial advocate for 7K clients, relocating 15 times to ensure all 70+ military units and squadrons in North Dakota could access a financial counselor. April provides counseling during each stage of a service member’s career, and her empathy and patience are invaluable when working with family members of those killed in action or from suicide.

Outstanding Financial Counseling or Planning CenterAustin Community College Student Money Management Office was established in 2016 as a strategy to increase retention and graduation and reduce the Cohort Default Rate. Last academic year, over 12K students participated in the text messaging program, nearly 4K students participated in a financial education workshop, 95 students collectively saved more than $43K in an incentivized savings program, and over 50 students received one-on-one financial coaching.

Outstanding Consumer Financial Information: My Life My Choices – Student Edition by Money Fit by DRS is an interactive budgeting activity of choices and consequences, designed for middle and high school students. Now available online at no cost, it will also prove far-reaching and affordable.

Outstanding Research Journal Article of the Year: Mac Festa, University of Wyoming and Kip HoldernessPresha Neidermeyer, and Ade Neidermeyer, West Virginia UniversityThe Impact of Financial-Aid Format on Students’ Collegiate Financing Decisions

Outstanding Practitioner’s Forum: Katherine Sauer, NEFE: Helping Adult Learners Understand What Drives Their Financial Decisions

Outstanding Symposium Poster: Bonnie Braun, University of Maryland School of Public Health, Virginia BrownJesse KettermanLynn Little, & Lisa McCoyUniversity of Maryland Extension, Dorothy NuckolsUniversity of Maryland, and Maria Pippidis, University of Delaware Extension: Protecting Financial Well-Being: Managing and Resolving Health Insurance Disputes

Outstanding Symposium Research Paper: Lu Fan, University of Missouri and Han Na LimKansas State UniversityThe Relationship Between Cognitive Abilities and Financial Help-Seeking Behavior

Outstanding Symposium Student Paper: Yiting Li, University of MinnesotaA Decade Review of Publications in Family Financial Socialization, Young Couples, & Financial Behaviors: 2007 – 2017

Outstanding Research to Practice Award: Kristy Archuleta and Danah JeongUniversity of GeorgiaJoy Clady and Derek LawsonKansas State University; and Christina GlennFort Hays State UniversityCan Money Habitudes Make a Difference? An experiment to bridge research and practice

About AFCPE®

AFCPE® ensures the highest integrity of the financial counseling profession by certifying, connecting, and supporting diverse professionals. Our comprehensive certification programs represent the gold standard for financial counseling, coaching, and education, including the AFC® (Accredited Financial Counselor®) certification which is accredited by NCCA and nationally recognized by CFPB and DoD.

Media Contact:
Rachael DeLeon

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