As the cost of education continues to rise, many alumni find themselves struggling with financial challenges long after they've left college. With the average price for tuition, fees, and accommodation for an undergraduate degree increasing 169% between 1980 and 20201, student debt alone is a huge concern for graduates.
Because of this, there's an increased need for financial literacy programs that can help alumni manage their finances effectively. When universities offer these programs, they help their alumni successfully navigate the complex world of personal finance while also cultivating a long-lasting relationship with them.
In this article, we’ll discuss how financial literacy programs can help universities engage with alumni and how iGrad, a leading financial wellness platform, can be an extremely useful resource for achieving this goal.
The Importance of Financial Wellness Programs for Alumni
Graduates shouldn’t have to deal with mounting student loan debt, managing personal finances, and navigating significant life transitions all on their own.
Universities have a big role to play in giving their alumni the skills and knowledge needed to be financially stable after college.
Let’s dive into the importance of financial wellness programs for alumni and explore the many advantages they offer.
Student Loan Debt Management
The median student loan debt in the United States is between $20,000 and $24,9992. With such high levels of debt, many alumni find it challenging to start their careers while paying off their loans.
Financial wellness programs can equip alumni with the knowledge and tools necessary to create a practical repayment plan, explore loan forgiveness options, and manage their debt responsibly.
Rather than looking at student loan debt as a necessary evil, schools can address it through financial literacy programs and demonstrate their commitment to supporting graduates in their financial journey.
Keep Reading: Financial Aid Directors: This Tool Will Help Your Students Make Better Student Loan Choices
Not only will they feel confident leaving school and slowly but surely getting rid of their debt, but they’ll feel a sense of loyalty and connection to their alma mater.
Improved Financial Decision-Making
One of the best things to come from financial literacy programs is that they can truly help alumni make better financial decisions. Managing money can be tricky, and it's not something we're all naturally good at.
These programs cover a variety of financial topics, like budgeting, credit management, and even investing, acting as a personal finance coach to guide users through the process.
Enhanced Engagement and Networking Opportunities
Financial literacy programs don’t just provide a fantastic financial education for alumni but also encourage them to engage and network. When universities offer these programs, they create a platform for alumni to connect with one another, exchange ideas, and share their experiences – fostering a sense of community and belonging within the alumni network.
As alumni engage with these programs, they are more likely to participate in alumni events, attend networking sessions, and maintain an ongoing relationship with their alma mater.
When alumni are more engaged, they give themselves more opportunities for career advancement and personal growth and strengthen the entire alumni network.
It’s a mutually beneficial relationship that supports the university’s mission and adds to the success of its graduates.
Support for Life Transitions
Alumni often face significant life transitions. Whether it's buying a home, starting a family, or embarking on a new career, these milestones often come with unique financial challenges that can be stressful.
CNBC found that millennials experience a "quarter-life crisis" after college due to financial stress, career uncertainty, and the pressure to succeed4.
Financial wellness programs that address these life transitions through tailored resources and education can empower alumni to tackle them and prepare for them.
As alumni feel supported and understood by their university, they are more likely to stay engaged with the institution, participate in alumni events, and advocate for the university within their personal and professional networks.
Strengthening the University’s Reputation
A strong alumni network can have a positive impact on a university’s reputation5, as successful and financially stable alumni reflect well on the institution. While students’ education is often the biggest priority of a university, alumni want to feel like their long-term success and well-being are invested in too.
By doing so, they show a dedication to creating a strong, supportive community that extends beyond the years spent on campus.
When alumni achieve financial stability, they are more likely to share their success stories and attribute their accomplishments, in part, to the resources provided by their alma mater.
This positive association enhances the university's reputation, attracting prospective students and promoting a sense of pride among current students and alumni alike.
A robust alumni network with financially stable graduates can lead to more financial contributions to the university, helping the institution continue providing valuable resources and support for future generations.
The iGrad Solution: A Comprehensive Financial Literacy Platform
iGrad is a cutting-edge financial literacy platform designed to help universities engage with alumni and support them in their financial journey. The platform offers a wide array of features and resources tailored to meet the unique needs of alumni, making it an ideal solution for universities looking to implement a financial literacy program.
Some notable aspects of iGrad include:
- Personalized Content: Adaptive learning technology ensures that alumni receive personalized content based on their financial situation, goals, and interests. A targeted approach makes the learning experience more relevant and engaging, ultimately leading to better financial outcomes.
- Comprehensive Financial Education: iGrad covers a wide range of financial topics, including budgeting, credit management, student loan repayment, retirement planning, and investing. With a more comprehensive approach, alumni get access to the information they need to make informed financial decisions throughout their lives.
- Interactive Tools: Various interactive tools, such as budgeting worksheets, loan calculators, and investment planners, help alumni apply their knowledge to their personal financial situations. As a proper financial plan is made and put into place, they’ll experience better financial stability in no time at all.
- Convenient Access: The iGrad platform can be accessed on desktop, tablet, and mobile, giving alumni access to the resources and tools they need whenever and wherever they need them.
- Customizable University Branding: Universities can customize the platform's interface to match their branding and messaging. Alumni can enter a familiar environment that is seamlessly integrated within your school's site.
Embracing Financial Literacy with iGrad
It's clear that financial literacy programs hold the key to unlocking many benefits for both alumni and universities. By investing in the financial well-being of their graduates, universities can create lifelong connections with pride, loyalty, and community.
As alumni navigate the world of personal finance and life transitions, these programs serve as a guiding light, empowering them to make informed decisions and achieve financial stability.
The success of alumni reflects the institutions that helped shape their futures.
Financial literacy programs can help universities solidify their reputation as a supportive, nurturing environment that is all about growth, success, and lasting connections. A thriving alumni network can continue to strengthen the university community for generations to come.
iGrad's comprehensive and personalized approach to financial wellness bridges the gap between financial literacy and financial capability. With this renowned financial literacy platform, universities can strengthen their relationship with alumni and offer best-in-class resources.
To learn more about the platform and how it can benefit your university and alumni, request a demo.
1 - https://www.forbes.com/advisor/student-loans/college-tuition-inflation/
2 - https://www.federalreserve.gov/publications/2022-economic-well-being-of-us-households-in-2021-student-loans.htm
3 - https://news.osu.edu/70-percent-of-college-students-stressed-about-finances/
4 - https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/08/millennials-face-life-after-college-finding-a-quarter-life-crisis-instead-of-dream-jobs.html
5 - https://www.educationtimes.com/article/campus-beat-college-events/71985252/portal-exclusive-here-is-why-a-strong-alumni-network-is-an-important-factor-to-consider-before-zeroing-in-on-a-college