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Students' Motivate Michigan proposal makes top five

May 21, 2010

KALAMAZOO--A proposal by two Western Michigan University students has made the "final five" in the Motivate Michigan campaign.

WMU students Jacob Berkey, a junior majoring in marketing from Comstock Park, Mich., and Kylie Vasa, a senior majoring in finance from Rock Springs, Wyo., have been invited to a final-five event in Novi, Mich., Monday, May 24, along with students from Wayne State University, the University of Michigan, Michigan Technological University and the University of Detroit Mercy.

Earlier this year, students enrolled at Michigan colleges and universities were invited to compete for scholarships and internships by submitting creative proposals to improve the Michigan economy. Berkey and Vasa entered their plan, the "Financial Literacy Pilot Program," which was selected last month as one of 10 finalists statewide from among 300 ideas submitted.

Berkey and Vasa, along with the other top-five finishers, will present their concepts as part of the final competition for $48,000 in scholarships. All top-five finishers will receive 5 percent to 40 percent of the scholarship money depending on the final standings. In addition, a CBS television crew will film the event for a special broadcast on June 5.

Motivate Michigan proposals were judged for creativity, originality, practicality and the potential economic impact on the state. Berkey and Vasa's plan notes that students are not taught personal finance skills that can lead the state out of recession and that today's financial problems lay in the hands of tomorrow's leaders.

They call for implementing a program to educate high school seniors in the practices of personal finance, addressing such issues as budgeting, investing, retirement, loans, mortgages, taxes and financial aid. Skilled teachers, extensive curriculum and parental involvement are critical components of the program, leading to less debt, fewer loan defaults and increased savings.

For more information, visit Motivate Michigan online.

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Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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