A new report by the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) in partnership with The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America advises community colleges on how to best support their students financially.
As part of the report, “Bridging Financial Wellness and Student Success: Effective Models for Community Colleges,” students participated in a financial literacy education program, Guardian Money Management for Life. Schools involved in the program included The University of the District of Columbia Community College, Berkshire Community College and Capital Community College.
For those students who took the Guardian Money Management for Life course from 2015 to 2019, 75% reported having a better understanding of personal financial management. Additionally, according to the report, students who have their basic financial needs met are more likely to succeed academically.
Currently, the three colleges involved in the course are working on creating centers for students to receive financial education, aid and career assistance.
Since student expenses such as tuition and housing may be higher than overall received grant aid, colleges should offer “financial aid interventions” such as emergency grant aid, institutional balance forgiveness and improved financial aid information, the report said.
Lastly, the report says financial education is not a replacement for financial aid resources. But, combined, they can “help empower students to make complex financial decisions associated with attending college,” according to the report.
“We want students to be prepared by having a financial plan that not only creates a roadmap for short-term and long-term goals, but also equips them with the ability to withstand unexpected emergencies,” said Veena Jayadeva, director of corporate social responsibility at Guardian Life, in a statement. “Our focus on financial empowerment integrates our philanthropic investments into 10 community colleges across the country, allowing us to work in lock-step with administrators to help students with their overall financial health.”