SAN DIEGO—Leading financial wellness education company iGrad has developed a classroom integration program to complement its online financial wellness platform for Johnson & Wales University students, faculty and alumni.
The Johnson & Wales University (JWU) First Year Student Seminar is based on a new iGrad classroom curriculum developed specifically for college students. JWU began offering iGrad’s online financial wellness platform to students and alumni in 2012 after its mandatory student loan exit counseling for graduating students revealed very few were fully aware of their student loan debt. The iGrad platform allowed JWU to educate students in making smart financial decisions as well as expanding their awareness of their student loan repayment responsibilities.
iGrad is a leading provider of interactive and adaptive online financial wellness platforms for universities, companies, and financial institutions. Its financial wellness education platform for college students, also called iGrad™, is used at more than 600 colleges and universities nationwide.
Research shows that financial literacy programs can lower student loan defaults, decrease financial stress that leads to better academic performance, and educate students on how to manage their finances for a lifetime.
The JWU First Year Student Seminar is offered every term to 75 freshmen and transfer students in the College of Hospitality. To date, 200 students have taken the class.
Since launching iGrad in 2012, more than 25,000 JWU students, alumni and staff have participated in the online financial wellness platform.
“JWU is committed to our students’ financial success by providing tools to help them make educated financial decisions, now and for the rest of their lives,” said JWU Director of Billing and Collections Kathi Tavares. “iGrad makes financial wellness education interactive and relatable. Not only that, students have become more aware of their debt, which is helping to reduce student loan default.”
Student loans are now the second-largest category of household debt in America, topping $1.5 trillion this year, according to the Federal Reserve. The Department of Education estimates that just over 10% of student loan borrowers are in default, and researchers at the Center for American Progress estimate that as many as 30% of student loan borrowers can't keep up with debt just six years after graduation.
Along with iGrad’s financial wellness platform and integrated classroom curriculum, JWU provides each student a personal financial planning counselor who offers in-person loan counseling, education and strategies to avoid excessive student loan debt. In 2017, JWU was recognized as one of the Top 50 financial literacy programs in the country by LendEdu. The 12,000-student private university introduces incoming students to iGrad at summer New Student Orientation sessions, encouraging them to complete the iGrad module Freshman Financial Fundamentals before starting classes. “Analysts predict student loan debt in the U.S. will reach $2 trillion by 2021, and 40% of borrowers could be in default by 2023,” said iGrad founder and President Rob LaBreche. “Studies show that college students overall are not financially literate, even though most are taking on student loan debt that could impact the rest of their lives. We are thrilled to be a major part of JWU’s commitment to financial literacy.”
Designed around a proprietary behavioral algorithm, 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 private company that offers financial wellness solutions to colleges and universities, employers, and financial institutions. Its platform for higher education, also called iGrad, has been named Education Program of the Year three times by The Institute for Financial Literacy, is a three-time winner of the Best Product Award from University Business Magazine, and has won the Outstanding Consumer Information Award from the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education. The company’s Enrich financial wellness platform is used by more than 300 employers and financial institutions nationwide to provide comprehensive financial wellness education and action plans to employees and customers. For more information about the iGrad platform, visit http://schools.igrad.com. For more information about the Enrich platform for employers and financial institutions, visit www.enrich.org.
About Johnson & Wales University
Johnson & Wales University is 12,000-student private university with campuses in Providence, R.I., North Miami, Fla. Denver, Colo., Charlotte, N.C. and an online program. For more information, visit https://www.jwu.edu.