This is a guest blog post by Extension innovator, Margie Memmott. She is a family & consumer sciences Extension professional serving Utah’s Juab county. You can follow Margie on Twitter at @MargieFCSpro. – Paul Hill
Both Extension professionals and clientele have shown their readiness and adoption of technology in disseminating and receiving information. Research supports this migration of technology for delivering programs. One study challenged Extension to lead by example by modeling and promoting the use of technology for faculty, staff, and volunteers.
Since 1992, the PowerPay debt elimination program, developed by Dean Miner and his team at Utah State University Extension has had a successful history as a financial tool for consumers, educators, facilitators, and counselors. Although the PowerPay website (powerpay.org) has been a widely adopted resource, today we have the opportunity to reach a generation of connected smartphone users. To meet this need, Dean and I took the challenge, applied for a grant, brought a team together, and developed the PowerPay mobile app for iOS in 2014 through a collaborative partnership with Utah State University and New Mexico State University.
The new PowerPay app is a financial tool to help consumers develop and follow a personalized, self-directed debt elimination plan while on the go. PowerPay contains the most frequently used repayment sequences to choose from (e.g., paying debts off in order of highest interest, lowest balance, shortest term, or as entered). The app displays the payment calendar for each option and shows a projection of the amount of money saved in interest costs and reduced repayment time by making power payments (also referred to as snowball or rollover payments). This app also allows users to plan extra payments towards their debts (e.g., one-time, monthly, or annually). PowerPay is unique because it provides users the option to simultaneously build up an emergency or reserve fund as they continue to follow their debt payment plan, and avoid additional debt.
The creation of the PowerPay mobile app adds another debt management instrument for financial educators and counselors to share with their clientele.
Extension Associate Professor
Family & Consumer Sciences
Utah State University