Bank of America provides funding to improve students’ financial education
$20,000 grant to break generational cycles of poverty funds financial empowerment coach at Clark College
The Bank of America Charitable Foundation is helping break the cycle of intergenerational poverty in the region with a $20,000 grant that supports a financial empowerment coach at Clark College. The coach works directly with students to help them stabilize their finances and increase the likelihood of students meeting their economic, education and career goals.
The grant, delivered to Clark College Foundation, provides ongoing support within Clark College’s Career Services department for the most vulnerable students. Assuring that a full-time financial coach remains on staff allows the college to continue providing workshops, classroom presentations and individual sessions focusing on how to budget, balance a checkbook, set long-term financial goals and understand credit cards, credit scores and loan repayments.
“The full-time coach has been highly valuable for our students,” said Lisa Gibert, president and CEO of Clark College Foundation. “The coach assisted 64 students in one-on-one sessions over a seven-month period, held 27 different budgeting workshops for scores of other students and conducted specialty workshops for the Veterans Resource Center and the Pathways Center.”
Jamie Madison was one of those students. She was ready to graduate from Clark’s Nursing program in 2015 when unforeseen circumstances led her to withdraw. When she was contemplating a return, she was unsure if she had the resources. She met with the financial education coach who helped her outline her personal finances and discover ways to limit her spending and create a budget.
“I am now confident with my finances and proactively use the resources I have learned about. These resources help me through college and prepare me for my career after graduation,” said Madison, who returned to Clark to finish her degree.
Having an accessible financial literacy coach positively impacts a significant number of at-risk students—54 percent of whom come from families below the poverty level, and 60 percent of whom are unemployed or receive public assistance. Moreover, nearly three-quarters of Clark students are from the first generation in their families to attend college.
“Bank of America understands that financial fluency and empowerment are key drivers for future financial mobility and success,” said David K. Reiter, senior vice president at U.S. Trust Bank of America Private Wealth Management in Vancouver. “That is why we are proud to support Clark College Foundation on this important decision to retain a financial coach. When individuals feel financially secure and are able to achieve their financial goals, communities are made stronger and we all benefit.”
A budgeting course delivered by the financial literacy coach was added to the College 101: College Essentials course last year. All students working toward an associate in arts and associate of arts direct transfer degrees are required to complete the course, which introduces students to campus resources, such as campus navigation, technology, tutoring support and financial aid.
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