Leading financial wellness company iGrad has partnered with Columbia University to provide a customized, interactive online and mobile financial wellness platform to the private Ivy League university’s more than 40,000 students.
The iGrad™ artificial intelligence-powered financial literacy platform, currently used by more than 600 colleges and universities, launched to Columbia undergraduate and graduate students in November 2019. Columbia is the third Ivy League institution to adopt the platform, following Harvard University and Yale University.
The initiative was launched by the Columbia University Office of University Life and the Student Financial Services office in response to its 2018 Columbia Student Well-Being Survey, which found that financial resources are a major concern for some students, according to an article in the Columbia Daily Spectator.
Research shows that financial literacy programs can lower student loan defaults, decrease financial stress, improve academic performance and teach students how to manage their finances for a lifetime.
Student loan debt is the second-largest category of debt in the U.S., ahead of credit card and auto debt. The Department of Education estimates that just over 10 percent of student loan borrowers are in default, and researchers at the Center for American Progress estimate that as many as 30 percent of student loan borrowers can't keep up with debt just six years after graduation.
Alarmingly, this student loan crisis has many questioning the value of higher education. Over half of people who graduated from college with student loans over the past 15 years believe the value of the diploma doesn’t outweigh the burden of debt, according to a 2019 survey by MorningConsult.1
“Many students take out loans without a clear understanding of the commitment or how significantly these loans could impact their lives for many years after graduation,” said iGrad founder and President Rob LaBreche. “Student financial wellness programs can be the difference between a lifetime of struggling to get ahead and actually getting ahead.”
Based on artificial intelligence and proprietary algorithms, iGrad personalizes financial information for each student’s situation and needs. It also offers tools, quizzes, videos, articles and a library of multimedia content. Included in the iGrad platform is a student loan tracking tool which aggregates student loan balances and estimates monthly payments, helping to prepare students for these payments after graduation. It adapts to each user’s specific circumstances, even providing interactive educational content on retirement and mortgages to those who need it.
iGrad is a San Diego-based financial technology company that offers artificial intelligence-powered financial wellness solutions to more than 600 colleges and universities, more than 20,000 employers and more than 300 financial institutions. iGrad was recently recognized, along with the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), with the Power of A Gold Award by the American Society of Association Executives for its APTA Financial Solutions Center. iGrad also received the 2019 Eddy Award for Financial Wellness by Pensions & Investments for its Enrich platform. For more information about the iGrad platform, visit www.igradfinancialwellness.com. For more information about the Enrich platform for employers and financial institutions, visit www.enrich.org.