Business & Society

USU Cooperative Extension Partners with State Program to Reduce Poverty

Utah State University Cooperative Extension and the Utah Individual Development Account Network (UIDAN), a program of AAA Fair Credit Foundation and a multi-faceted financial education and matched savings program, are in partnership to break the cycle of poverty and move low-income, working Utahns into the financial mainstream.

According to Adrie Roberts, USU Cooperative Extension family and consumer sciences professor, program participants are at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. The program helps them complete personal financial management education, save regularly in a matched saving/investment account called an Individual Development Account (IDA) and purchase one of four approved productive assets. These include first homes, business start-up/capitalizations, post secondary education and assistive technology for work-related activities. The UIDAN matches participants with $3 to every $1 they save, up to $1,500. UIDAN will contribute up to $4,500, and the $6,000 can then be used to purchase the approved asset.

“USU Extension county offices around the state have been involved in teaching the eight hours of financial management classes that pre-qualify participants to start the matched savings program,” said Roberts. “This program is definitely changing people’s lives.”

According to Martha Wunderli, UIDAN state director, the program is based on the principles of responsible financial management and helps reduce poverty by bringing basic economic understanding and skills to those who have little or no experience managing their limited assets. IDA savers learn to develop and manage a household budget, manage debt, set financial goals and achieve them.

“IDAs strengthen Utah's economy and build strong communities one family at a time,” said Wunderli. “USU is a valuable and respected partner in this effort.”

A 38-year-old, single mother of two from Utah County shared her success story.

“Thank you for all of your assistance and long-term coaching. It is making a difference in my life. I purchased my first home last year, and IDA had a large part in helping me learn how to save and manage money and credit scores. My credit score went from a 630 to over 800 in the two years.”

For further information on the UIDAN program, visit (, contact Roberts at 435-752-6263 or Wunderli at 801-656-1610 or 877-787-0727

Contact: Adrie Roberts Phone: 435-752-6263,


USU's Cooperative Extension is working to break the cycle of poverty and move low-income, working Utahns into the financial mainstream.


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