Jenna Zimmerman is a typical college student whose life is guided by her bank account balance.

"Once it gets to a certain point, I say I need to stay away from places where I spend money," said the first-year University of Wisconsin-La Crosse student from Cleveland Minnesota, who is majoring in cellular and molecular biology.

On this particular night before finals, Zimmerman was eating free pizza and saving money before Christmas by returning to a favorite childhood activity promoted by her college's innovative financial literacy center.

"In grade school, I made ornaments and decorated little trees I could take home," she said, choosing Scrabble letters from a pile to form a holiday message on a Popsicle stick wall hanging.

UW-La Crosse is keenly tuned into what causes students financial stress. The holidays are a big one.

The campus has a money management center for students like Zimmerman, who want to make sound financial choices both now and in the future.

The "It Make$ Cents" financial literacy program and money management center is housed in Centennial Hall. The program was started in 2012. 

Read more in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.