UNCF Launches New Financial Literacy Program
Fairfax, Va. (April 16, 2010) -- April is Financial Literacy Month, and UNCF -- the United Negro College Fund -- the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization, is marking the occasion by launching its new Financial Literacy Program, aimed at helping high school and college students manage the financial choices they already face as well as those that lie ahead. UNCF’s Financial Literacy Program’s web-based curriculum uses the latest in new media technologies including 3-D gaming, social networking, animations, video and avatars to bring the financial world to life.
“Young people have to make financial decisions earlier than ever -- saving for college, cell-phone plans, student loans, credit cards and many others,” said Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D. UNCF president and CEO. “And still ahead of them are choices about home-buying, consumer credit and saving for retirement. It’s critical that we help them get on the right financial track as early as possible, so that youthful decisions don’t come back to haunt them and so they’re prepared to become savvy financial consumers.”
Students at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) experience greater financial need and face greater credit challenges. In the 2007-2008 academic year, 90 percent of all HBCU students qualified for need-based financial aid, and low-to-middle income 18-34 year olds with credit card debt reported an average balance of $8,182. In 1983, median consumer debt for 25-34 year olds was $3,989.
The UNCF Financial Scholars Program, powered by EverFi, is designed to cater to users’ skill and experience levels to introduce students to such subjects as personal budgeting, credit scores, stocks and bonds, college savings and student loans, credit cards and debt-management, and the choice between home-ownership and renting. The virtual world and interactive game environment enables students to learn through character improvisation at three different stages of life, enabling students to apply what they’ve learned. Under the auspices of the UNCF Financial Literacy Program, historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), such as the 39 private HBCUs that are members of UNCF, as well as high schools around the country, will have the opportunity to gain access to the EverFi-powered program and earn certification.
High schools in New York, Maryland, Alabama, New Jersey and Louisiana are currently participating in the UNCF Financial Scholars Program. UNCF member-institutions Paul Quinn College in Dallas, Texas, is using the EverFi platform as a first-year student orientation tool.
“All the Paul Quinn University students who participated in the UNCF Financial Scholars Program during their first year of college found it to be a beneficial, rewarding experience,” said Paul Quinn College President Michael J. Sorrell. “Being fiscally responsible and understanding the impact of financial choices one makes while one is young is an important step in a student’s development and is a foundation that will enable them to make wise financial decisions for the rest of their lives. This foundation will afford them the opportunity to not only manage their personal finances but begin to build wealth and plan for a bright future.”
Students who successfully complete the program earn the distinction of being EverFi Certified which provides them with access to a next-generation resumé-building tool, creates an exclusive community of EverFi Certified financial literate students with access to employers, grant offices, loan departments, internship coordinators and officials from higher education institutions.
High schools and colleges or universities interested in participating in the UNCF Financial Scholars Program should contact Ray Martinez at 202.629.0326 ext. 703 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sponsors and donors interested in supporting student access to the UNCF Financial Scholars Program should contact Monica Newman McCluney, UNCF National Director Strategic Alliances and Corporate Relations at 703-205-3463 or via email at Monica.McCluney@uncf.org.
UNCF -- the United Negro College Fund -- is the nation's largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students' education and development through scholarships and other programs, strengthens its 39 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 18 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 900 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste."® Learn more at www.UNCF.org.