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Widener Professors Help Launch Specialized Money Management Guide for People with Disabilities

Three Widener University School of Business Administration faculty members have partnered with the Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation to develop a highly specialized guide to money management for people with disabilities. The guide, titled Cents and Sensibility, is now available in a booklet and PDF format through the PATF.

Dr. Caryl Carpenter, professor of health care management at Widener, initiated the idea of the guide after Susan Tachau, PATF executive director, expressed a need to develop the financial literacy of individuals served by the cents and sensibilityorganization.

The PATF helps provide financing opportunities to people with disabilities to help them acquire assistive technology devices and services to improve the quality of their lives. However, without a certain level of financial knowledge, individuals in need may not qualify initially for financing due to their poor credit or inability to repay a loan.

"I am constantly having the same conversations with clients," Tachau said. "They ask what credit is; they ask if they have to repay their student loans and by when. We also often find that many are victims of identity theft once we look into their financial history. They don't know how to protect themselves."

Cents and Sensibility provides information for money management in addition to exercises and activities to help readers retain the information. To develop the guide, Carpenter enlisted the help of her colleagues Dr. Dennis Laker, associate professor of management, and David Haman, adjunct professor and certified financial planner. The three dedicated their time pro bono, working for nearly two years with Tachau and others from PATF, to conceptualize, write, test and edit the booklet.

"Cents and Sensibility will facilitate the opportunity for individuals with disabilities to contribute to society in a meaningful way through work," said Laker, who explained that the content is highly targeted so that individuals with disabilities can save their hard-earned money without losing much-needed government benefits.

"It offers them smart ways to save," Tachau added. "It's the first publication of its kind in this country."

The Pennsylvania Credit Union Foundation, Inglis Foundation and Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency provided funding to help publish Cents and Sensibility. The PATF is currently looking for additional funding to move Cents and Sensibility into a user-friendly online format.

For more information on Cents and Sensibility, contact the PATF at 484-674-0506.

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener is comprised of eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate, baccalaureate, master's and doctoral degrees. The university's campuses in Chester, Exton, Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del., serve some 6,500 students. Visit the university website,


Photo Caption: Pictured above in the front row from left to right are Susan Tachau, executive director of the Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation; Dr. Caryl Carpenter, professor of health care management; and Tracy Beck, PATF operations director. Pictured in the back row from left to right are David Haman, adjunct professor and certified financial planner; Dr. Stephen Wilhite, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs; Dr. Savas Özatalay, dean of the School of Business Administration; and Dr. Dennis Laker, associate professor of management.