Scaling Improved Financial Behavior within WSSN: College Prototype Descriptions and Progress

As part of the financial services and asset building strategy, WSSN sought to test strategies that can improve the financial capability of large numbers of community college students. With input from behavioral economists, community college staff, and financial product and services experts, WSSN identified many of the financial challenges that causes students to suddenly drop out of college. WSSN decided to focus on three specific challenges facing low-income community college students among those that were identified. First, students are challenged to manage a limited cash flow that often comes in the form of a lump sum at the beginning of the semester or in early February as part
of their tax refunds. Second, students lack a financial cushion to absorb the shocks of a medical bill or a needed car repair. The only alternative they may have is to drop out of school in order to increase their work hours. Finally, students pay more for financial services because of either a lack of a credit history or a low credit score. Because credit scores are now used by employers and landlords, students with poor credit may be rejected for employment or housing. Consequently, WSSN created a list of potential solutions and developed a framework for prototyping potential interventions to address the aforementioned challenges

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