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UB, M&T Partner on Financial Literacy for High School Students

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – A personal finance curriculum will soon be introduced into area high schools thanks to a new partnership between UB and M & T Bank.

For nearly ten years now, UB Management School Professor Lewis Mandell has been pushing the importance of financial literacy among young people. He's surveyed high school students across the nation and found they're making poor financial choices. So, he developed something called MoneySKILL -- a free interactive, Internet curriculum that educates students about personal finance. Mandell said it's already making a difference at Williamsville East High School.

"Every kid who graduates from Williamsville East has to pass MoneySKILL," Mandell said. "So in other words, you cannot graduate financially illiterate."

But Mandell says Williamsville East is the exception. The state does require high school students to complete at least one-third of semester of study in personal financial management. But there are no penalties for failing to do so. And schools don't have the financial resources to help.

Until now.

M & T Bank announced Thursday it will provide a grant of nearly $44,000 to get MoneySKILL into more area schools.

"This partnership is going to enable us to work with the teachers and to encourage them to offer this to their students," Mandell said.

Mandell admits that despite his aggressive efforts to promote financial literacy in young people, progress is slow. He says the goal is to get every high school in Western New York to adopt the program, especially those in the city of Buffalo.