Our Money Matters: New Platform Helps Promote Financial Literacy Among MSIs

Welcome to Our Money Matters – a new online resource to promote financial wealth and literacy among Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs).

Our Money Matters is an outgrowth of the Financial Education and Wealth Creation Project (FECWP), which was developed by the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Community Development Action Coalition (HBCU CDAC). The coalition was founded to promote, support, and advocate for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), community development corporations (CDCs), and the community economic development industry. Created by the

HBCU CDAC and powered by the Wells Fargo Foundation, Our Money Matters will aim to positively impact the economic wellbeing of students from participating MSIs, and their surrounding communities.

According to the American Council on Education, ​​​​​​​​​​​​​MSIs are a vital part of U.S. higher education, providing access to college for millions of students of color, many of whom are from low-income backgrounds and are the first in their family to attend college. In the fall of 2016, these institutions collectively enrolled over five million undergraduate and graduate students and numbered over 700. Their success is integral to the success of our higher education system and the increasingly diverse student population it serves.

MSIs Defined

Minority Serving Institutions fall into the following categories, as listed by the Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions. HBCU – Historically Black Colleges and Universities HSI – Hispanic Serving Institutions TCU – Tribal Colleges and Universities ANNH – Alaska Native- and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions PBI – Predominantly Black Institutions AANAPISI – Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions NASNTI – Native American Serving, Nontribal Institutions

MSIs serve a large number of financially-challenged students: 98 percent of African Americans and Native Americans who enroll at HBCUs or TCUs receive or qualify for federal financial aid. In addition, over 50 percent of all students enrolled at MSIs receive Pell Grant support. As a point of comparison, only 31 percent of all college students receive Pell Grant support. Moreover, nearly half of MSI students are first-generation college students, compared to only 35 percent of students attending Predominantly White Institutions.

In its 2017 report, The Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions* (CMSI) highlighted return on investment (ROI) on MSIs. The report data demonstrated that many MSIs do a better job of serving lower income and students of color than non-MSIs.

The report also indicated that Minority Serving Institutions served 40 percent of underrepresented students, totaling approximately 3.8 million students or 26 percent of all college students in 2013-2014.

*The Penn Center has moved to Rutgers University and is now known as the Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions.

MSIs Are Essential to the Future of the Nation’s Economy

MSIs occupy a unique place in the nation, serving primarily, but not exclusively, low-income students, first generation students, and students of color. These institutions have highly diverse faculties and staffs, enhance student learning, promote leadership skills, and provide programs of study that address deficiencies that originated at the primary and secondary level. MSIs play an important role in the nation’s economy by preparing a diverse workforce and prepare underrepresented students for graduate and professional school. Moreover, in the American Council on Education’s report, Minority Serving Institutions As Engines of Upward Mobility, the data presented verified that MSIs are standouts in the field for their contribution to income mobility even while they are operating with limited resources. The report stated that MSIs propel their students from the bottom to the top of the income distribution at higher rates than do nonMSIs, and are a viable path up the economic ladder for millions of students and reinforce the value proposition of higher education as a path to greater prosperity.

How Our Money Matters Fits In

As the data indicate, increased investment in minority serving institutions helps individuals, families, and communities. Research also indicates that these types of programs should start as early as possible. To that end, Our Money Matters, with its emphasis on supporting students at these institutions based on comprehensive research, will provide a number of resources, including:

  • a campus-based financial education program that is interactive and customized with virtual integration (will need to be fleshed out)

  • in-person education and counseling (how will they do this in the current COVID environment?)

  • support services such as food pantries, career closets and emergency funds (need more info)

  • outreach and collaboration with surrounding communities (need more info)

Take the first step in building your financial future. Sign up today (link) Sources: HBCU Community Development Action Coalition (HBCU CDAC), Financial Education & Wealth Creation Project (FEWCP), American Council on Education Center for Policy Research and Strategy, Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions [19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26

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