The Community College Financial Empowerment Award, offered for the first time in 2016 by Achieving the Dream and OneMain Financial, recognizes a community college in the Achieving the Dream National Reform Network for outstanding achievement and innovation in developing and scaling effective financial empowerment programs for students. OneMain Financial also offers the winning college $25,000 while Achieving the Dream disseminates the recipient college’s promising practices across the Network to benefit student financial empowerment initiatives nationwide.
The first winner, Jefferson Community & Technical College in Louisville, KY, developed a partnership with the Louisville branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis to make financial literacy an integral part of the student experience.
Community colleges serve students who face severe financial challenges that often hurt students’ ability to reach their educational goals. Research shows that financial challenges are at the core of other frequently-noted obstacles that stand in the way of college completion. Many higher education institutions have undertaken efforts to provide financial education, financial services and financial aid as mechanisms for helping students secure employment, complete their education or training, improve their credit, and make sound financial decisions. OneMain Financial and Achieving the Dream’s Financial Empowerment Award seeks to recognize and promote innovation in financial empowerment to improve student success both inside and outside of the classroom.
The 2017 Community College Financial Empowerment Award Call for Entries is now available and may be downloaded here.
Applications must be completed and submitted electronically here.
Application Deadline: Friday, November 11, 2016 5pm ET.
Serving some 32,000 learners each year, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College supports the development of a skilled workforce by providing education, training, and life-long learning opportunities for individuals and businesses.
While approximately 80 percent of NWTC’s student population receives some form of financial aid, students still face financial barriers to stay enrolled. Interventions like an emergency fund and an on-campus food pantry help address student financial needs in the short term, but an analysis of the financial needs of its learners—including talking directly with students and listening to insights from faculty and staff—helped NWTC recognize that a more comprehensive response would help address the heart of the financial stresses that many NWTC students experience.
To help address that broader need, NWTC created the Financial Wellness Center, an on-site collaborative financial coaching and financial literacy program. Through workshops, events, and one-on-one coaching, students learn how to build personal budgets, understand their credit scores, and manage personal debt, including their student loans. The center’s ultimate goal is to help students increase their financial literacy and lower their financial stress by learning how to be “fiscally fit.” Apart from helping individuals improve their financial wellness, the college also views the program as an important strategy for helping to improve retention and graduation rates of low-income students.
Achievingthe Dream's Community College Financial Empowerment Award, supported generously by OneMain Financial, recognizes a community college in the Achieving the Dream National Reform Network for outstanding achievement and innovation in developing and scaling effective financial empowerment programs.The award seeks to recognize and promote innovation in financial empowerment to improve student success both inside and outside of the classroom.The winning institution received an award of $25,000 to be directed toward their financial empowerment efforts.
Achieving the Dream presented the 2016 Community College Financial Empowerment Award to Jefferson Community& Technical College (JCTC) in Louisville, Kentucky. The award recognizes JCTC's achievements in leveraging existing resources and partnerships to create a comprehensive, accessible, and student-centered financial empowerment strategy.