SAN DIEGO—Leading financial wellness company iGrad has partnered with the HBCU Community Development Action Coalition to provide student financial wellness education to historically Black colleges and universities and minority-serving institutions.
The new HBCU CDAC Our Money Matters financial wellness hub¹ is powered by iGrad’s award-winning financial literacy platform, which is used by more than 600 colleges and universities including Ohio State University, Arizona State University, and Columbia University.
Supported by a three-year philanthropic commitment from the Wells Fargo Foundation, Our Money Matters (OMM) is being rolled out in phases. The effort will initially be on seven campuses: Allen University, Bowie State University, Lincoln University, Miles College, Morris Brown College, Southern University at New Orleans, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. Over three years it will expand to 25 HBCUs and minority-serving institutions (MSIs), giving approximately 40,000 students of color financial capability skills, finance management tools, and access to support services.
“Our Money Matters is pleased to partner with iGrad, a well-known and highly respected financial wellness company providing cutting edge services to colleges and universities,” said Ron Butler, CEO of HBCU CDAC. “Our goal is to offer the latest financial technology and culturally sensitive services available to the HBCUs, MSIs, and community residents we serve. To that end, iGrad has exceeded our expectations.”
More than 228,000 students are enrolled at the 107 U.S. HBCUs. Eighty percent of those who attend HBCUs rely on federal loans, compared to 55 percent of students at non-HBCUs. HBCU students also borrow more money and are more likely to tap into unsubsidized federal loans and rely on their parents to also take out loans.
Student borrowers owe close to $1.5 trillion in student loan debt nationwide. Black college graduates owe $7,400 more on average than their white peers, with the debt disparity growing even more post-graduation due to interest accrual and graduate school borrowing, according to the Brookings Institution.²
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.
“College students are facing more challenges than ever before, including financial challenges,” said iGrad vice president of business development Donna Miller. “Students of color are especially impacted. We are thrilled to be a part of Our Money Matters, which exemplifies the HBCU CDAC’s commitment to student financial wellness.”
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.
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 that 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’s Your Money Personality™ was recently recognized by the Institute for Financial Literacy with the 2020 Excellence in Financial Literacy Education (EIFLE) Adults’ Education Program of the Year award. iGrad is one of three 2020 honorees in the inaugural Barron's Celebrates: Financial Empowerment, after being selected by a team of judges for its contributions to improving the financial health and security of Americans. 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.
1 - http://ourmoneymatters.com/
2 - https://www.brookings.edu/research/black-white-disparity-in-student-loan-debt-more-than-triples-after-graduation/