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eXtension Community Wins National Consumer Financial Information Award

Jennifer Martin, CSREES Staff, (202) 720-8188

November 30, 2007

The Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE) awarded the eXtension Financial Security for All leadership team the Outstanding Consumer Financial Information Award at its annual conference in Tampa, Fla., Nov. 14-16.

"This award, given by a leading professional association for personal finance education, celebrates the vast expertise of Cooperative Extension to deliver reliable, unbiased personal finance information and education, now in a system-wide learn anytime, anywhere electronic mode," said Jane Schuchardt, national program leader at USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES). "This team has helped lead the way for eXtension to be positioned for success."

AFCPE cited the collaboration of university experts working together to provide financial management information on a national scale.

"The Financial Security for All community of practice includes more than 180 professionals working together to provide and review research-based and unbiased information and learning modules. We work to provide consumers information that can help them make sound financial decisions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. These experts have provided an extensive library of 'frequently asked questions' and volunteer to answer specific consumer questions within 48 hours," said Debra Pankow, chair of the eXtension community of practice team.

eXtension is the Cooperative Extension System's Web resource of current research-based information and education. eXtension is organized by communities of practice. Experts from across the country work together in specific topic areas. They assemble information from extension services to give U.S. consumers unbiased information. The Financial Security for All team centers on topics about financial information for individuals and families.

The personal finance portion of the eXtension Web site includes learning lessons, calculation tools, nearly 1,000 frequently asked questions, current news, upcoming events and the opportunity for consumers to ask questions and receive answers from extension personal finance experts.

The leadership team for Financial Security for All includes Debra Pankow, North Dakota State University (chair), Nancy Porter, Clemson University; Barbara O'Neill, Rutgers University; Sharon Seiling, Ohio State University; Judy Branch, University of Vermont; and Erik Anderson, University of Idaho. The team is advised by Jane Schuchardt, CSREES-USDA, and Linda Kirk Fox, Washington State University.

eXtension is an educational partnership of more than 70 land grant universities helping Americans improve their lives with access to timely, objective, research-based information and educational opportunities. eXtension's interactive Web resource, www.extension.org, is customized with links to local Cooperative Extension Web sites. Land-grant universities were founded on the ideals that higher education should be accessible to all, that the university should teach liberal and practical subjects, and share the college's knowledge with people throughout their states.

eXtension, which includes the personal finance portion, will be formally launched at the USDA Ag Outlook Forum in Crystal City, Va., Feb. 21-22, 2008.

CSREES, along with state Extension Services and partner organizations, provide funding for eXtension. CSREES also provides significant national leadership for this award-winning eXtension Community of Practice, including positioning this subject area as an eXtension prototype, assembling the core team of Extension experts, building strategic partnerships, identifying non-government funding sources, marketing the site at www.extension.org/personal_finance, and providing overall consultation to the team on process, content and evaluation.

CSREES advances knowledge for agriculture, the environment, human health and well-being, and communities by supporting research, education and extension programs in the Land-Grant University System. For more information, visit www.csrees.usda.gov.