Financial Literacy Program
Albert Einstein, arguably one of the smartest men of the last century, once said: “The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.” Financial literacy does not require genius, but the potential downward spiral that can be created by financial ignorance is limitless, and should be motivation for all to learn what we can do to become more financially literate. This is especially needed for children as they begin their financial lives.
Few of the young people served by the Race For Education have financial mentors or any kind of financial guidance. The sad situation of so many young people today is that they start out with the greatest intentions and end with outrageous debt. As they begin their adult lives, enrolling at only the best colleges and often forgoing work while in college to dedicate themselves to their studies, they saddle themselves with debt that will follow them for decades. When we combine this debt with a general lack of financial literacy, young people are faced with a very uncertain future.
One of Race for Education’s goals is to helps students graduate from college with as little debt as possible. We require all students to complete a FAFSA application and work with every student to make sure they access all available financial aid in addition to our scholarships.
In addition, scholarship recipients are required to pass an online financial literacy course financialliteracy101.org before receiving any scholarship awards.
We also offer all of our students an opportunity to participate in our Assets for Independence program. This program was designed to help young people with low income and/or who are carrying a heavy debt load become financially independent. Participation in this program is voluntary; however, this is a fairly simplistic way of receiving additional funding for higher education and will allow more students to achieve a college education. Since The Race For Education first launched this program in 2008 more than 500 students have participated. Download Assets For Independence Scholarship Application here.
Eligible students will receive free financial literacy training and an additional $4,000 in scholarship funds from a federal matching grant that RFE has received from the US Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families, which is called the Assets for Independence program (AFI).
If a student meets the eligibility requirements, then he or she must save $500 of earned income in an Individual Development Account (IDA), which must be open for a minimum of six months. Once they save the $500, RFE will deposit $2,000 into their account and $2,000 will be deposited from the AFI matching grant, for a total of $4,000 in additional funding. (The savings account is a master escrow set up by RFE).
The $500 of earned income that is deposited along with the $4,000 matching funds, including any interest, is awarded to the scholarship recipient but must go toward paying their college expenses. Please note that funds may NOT be used to pay back loans. The total award (and interest) is drawn down and sent directly to their school at the beginning of a semester when tuition bill is due.