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For Release:
George Smaragdis
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
(202) 728-8988

Fellowship Application Period Opens for Military Spouses to Earn Financial Counselor Designation

FINRA Foundation Fellowship Program Supports Spouses' Education and Careers, Helps Meet Need for Additional Financial Education in Military Communities

WASHINGTON — The FINRA Investor Education Foundation has opened the application process for its 2011 Military Spouse Fellowship Program. Now in its sixth year, the program provides fellowship recipients with the education needed to earn the Accredited Financial Counselor® (AFC®) designation. Military spouses are now eligible to apply to the new class of fellows.

The Military Spouse Fellowship is administered in partnership with the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education® (AFCPE®) and the National Military Family Association. The program covers the costs associated with completing the AFC® training and testing for military spouses. More information is available at Applications are accepted online at and are due by April 15, 2011.

"Military families face unique financial challenges related to long deployments, frequent moves and a complicated benefits system," said John Gannon, president of the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. "Through the Military Spouse Fellowship Program, our support in a military community becomes twofold – we are addressing military spouses' concerns of obtaining ongoing education and maintaining a career, and helping military families overcome the barriers to achieving sound financial health."

Spouse fellows have logged more than 240,000 hours helping military families reach their financial goals, and 255 spouse fellows have graduated the program. Accredited spouses serve the military community as financial counselors at family readiness and support centers, credit counseling and tax centers, financial aid offices and credit unions throughout the U.S. and abroad. These organizations are in need of well-trained specialists who understand the unique financial needs of military families.

Lauren Bristow, whose husband is a Sergeant stationed at Camp Lejeune, was selected to participate in the Military Spouse Fellowship Program last year. She is in the process of earning her accreditation and has found various ways to obtain her practicum hours, including through her job at a local credit union, and has learned a tremendous amount in the process.

"After I earn my accreditation, I hope to focus only on financial counseling with military families," said Bristow. "The Military Spouse Fellowship Program is providing me with the skills to give back to the military community, which continues to support my family, and help them to become more financially sound."

Full biographies of selected accredited spouse fellows are available at

The Military Spouse Fellowship Program is open to current or surviving spouses of active duty or retired Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, National Guard or Reserve servicemembers, as well as spouses of U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials.

About the FINRA Investor Education Foundation
The FINRA Investor Education Foundation is the largest foundation in the United States dedicated to investor education. Its mission is to provide investors with high-quality, easily accessible information and tools to better understand the markets and the basic principles of saving and investing. In 2006, the Foundation launched a multifaceted program to expand the saving and investing knowledge of military servicemembers and their spouses, including a free, unbiased resource, A proud partner in the Department of Defense Financial Readiness Campaign, the Foundation also presents financial education forums at military installations worldwide.

About AFCPE®
The Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education® (AFCPE®) provides professional development experiences for financial educators, practitioners and researchers to improve the economic well-being of individuals and families worldwide. The Association's vision is to be internationally recognized as the leading provider of professional development opportunities. Visit for more information.

About the National Military Family Association
Military families serve our country with pride, honor and quiet dedication. The National Military Family Association is the leading nonprofit organization committed to strengthening and protecting the families of the men and women currently serving, retired, wounded or fallen. We provide families of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard and Commissioned Corps of the USPHS and NOAA with information, work to get them the benefits they deserve and offer programs that improve their lives. Our more than 40 years of service and accomplishments have made us a trusted resource for military families and the Nation's leaders. Visit for more information.

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