January 01 2009
Operation HOPE Rolls Out Unprecedented Financial Literacy Program As a Result of White House Initiative With HBCUs
Banking on Our Future College Edition Launches at Spelman College; Non-profit expands award-winning program to teach money management at Historically Black Colleges and Universities
ATLANTA, GA - January 15, 2009 - Operation HOPE (HOPE), America’s leading financial literacy nonprofit, begins a wave of change today, starting at Spelman College, that will literally change the financial outlook of generations of minorities. As the result of a joint effort between the White House and Operation HOPE, students at participating Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the United States will have the opportunity to take part in the Banking on Our Future College Edition financial education program.
The partnership between Operation HOPE and HBCUs is the first financial education program to address the current economic crisis in the United States as college students are often faced with thousands of dollars of student loans and credit card debt. The Banking on Our Future College Edition program, adapted from Operation HOPE’s innovative Banking on Our Future (BOOF), will help students adopt healthy attitudes and habits toward spending, as well as assist them with setting, reaching, and maintaining financial freedom.
“Operation HOPE is proud to launch our program at Spelman College,” said John Hope Bryant, chairman, founder and chief executive officer of HOPE and Vice Chairman of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy. “This program is also in keeping with one the Council’s recent recommendations for college students to take a more comprehensive course in financial literacy than present entrance and exit counseling requirements. The ‘language of money’ is often misunderstood among young people today and is so often overlooked as a critical piece to a strong education and foundation. By including HOPE’s Banking on Our Future College Edition program, HBCUs are clearly addressing the needs of financial literacy for young adults and helping them to realize concrete goals for the future.”
Designed for college-level students, the BOOF CE program will be offered to entering freshman and departing seniors this academic year through the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement at Spelman in Atlanta, and nine additional HBCUs. The program, offered through a series of workshops, will focus on teaching students how to budget during a recession by helping them develop positive and healthy attitudes and beliefs about money, and learning how to handle many of the social pressures associated with spending. Students will also learn basic personal finance skills, including lessons on setting and attaining personal finance goals, as well as receiving important lessons on credit, loans, and investing.
At Spelman College we understand that leadership development must include financial literacy. Particularly in this economy when so many of our students are struggling to find the funds they need to pay for their education, it is critical for them to learn to make wise financial choices. They need to know how to read the fine print on their student loans and consider carefully the pitfalls of high-interest credit card debt, as well as understanding the importance of planning for the future," said Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, president of Spelman College. "The opportunity to work with Operation HOPE through our Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement is an exciting one which will benefit our students greatly, and we are proud to be leading the way for other HBCUs with this new partnership."
The program, the latest in a series of financial education curriculum created by HOPE, and is one of the most important moves to date in breaking the tide of college students who dropout due to overwhelming debt. Financial journalist and author Stacey Tisdale authored the program on behalf of HOPE and stresses how important it is to understand what financial literacy really means.
“In addition to knowing what a stock or bond is, our young people must understand how they are targeted by advertisers. They must understand that they pay higher interest rates and get lower quality financial products just because of the social stereotype that minorities are financially illiterate – many in the financial services industry literally bank on this. Students must understand the deck has been stacked against them since they were very young, due to things like a lack of financial role models. We must move beyond the limiting perceptions that are locking us into our current financial experiences. This program will show them how – it’s personal,” says Tisdale.
Ten other HBCU’s will launch in 2009 and HOPE will expand to all 105 HBCUs within five years.
About Spelman College
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a prestigious, highly selective, liberal arts college that prepares women to change the world. Located in Atlanta, Ga., this historically Black college boasts a 79 percent graduation rate, and outstanding alumnae such as Children's Defense Fund Founder Marian Wright Edelman; former U.S. Foreign Service Director General Ruth Davis, authors Tina McElroy Ansa and Pearl Cleage; and actress LaTanya Richardson. More than 83 percent of the full-time faculty members have Ph.D.s or other terminal degrees, and the average faculty to student ratio is 12:1. More than 2,100 students attend Spelman. For more information, visit www.spelman.edu.
About Operation HOPE, Inc.
Operation HOPE is America's leading nonprofit social investment banking and financial literacy empowerment organization. With more than 400 private sector partners, 1500 nonprofit organizations and schools, and 100 government partners in 30 major U.S. cities as well as South Africa, HOPE has raised more than $400 million in its pursuit of educating, assisting and inspiring the next generation of global stakeholders. Through international initiatives and its three principal programs, Banking on Our Future (teaching school children about money), HOPE Coalition America (Mortgage HOPE Crisis Hotline, 1-888-388-HOPE, financial emergency preparedness and disaster relief), and Walk-In HOPE Centers (loans, bill pay, computer literacy, understanding banking principles), Operation HOPE has assumed the responsibility of piloting the Silver Rights Movement towards making free enterprise and capitalism relevant to all underserved communities.
About the U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy
The Council was established to promote and enhance financial literacy among the American people. One of the functions of the Council is to obtain information and advice concerning financial literacy. Upon consideration of such information and advice, the Council will advise the President and Secretary of the Treasury on means to improve financial education efforts, promote effective access to financial services, establish effective measures of financial literacy, conduct research on financial knowledge, and strengthen and coordinate financial education programs. To learn more about the Commission or the U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, go to http://www.treasury.gov/. And for more about Operation HOPE, visit http://www.operationhope.org/ .