Almost half of all college students say money management is a bigger challenge than any other they may face, according to the U.S. Department of Education. To empower students as they embark on their higher education journeys, leading information services company Experian and HomeFree-USA’s Center for Financial Advancement® (CFA) have launched the CFA Credit Academy. More than 250 scholars from 14 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) will learn and train to share financial literacy, credit education and leadership basics.
“Experian is a committed innovative partner. Understanding and mastering credit is of significant importance to the CFA Scholars. The CFA Credit Academy provides the training, tools, coaching and mentoring in a clear relevant manner that will enable the scholars to achieve their personal goals,” says Gwen Garnett, HomeFree-USA Center for Financial Advancement® executive director.
The HomeFree-USA 2022 Money4Life Leadership Conference kicked off CFA’s eight-month program and included an orientation of the credit education program with Experian’s credit education experts. Students will gain an understanding of credit and its importance, so they can become knowledge ambassadors for their peers, family and their communities. In addition to live sessions and self-paced content, the CFA Credit Academy culminates with a hackathon competition in April, challenging all students to form teams of four at participating HBCUs to build the next best credit education program for their peers. The winning team will earn a $40,000 scholarship, sponsored by Experian.
“This program normalizes and modernizes the conversation about credit and overall financial health. Through our partnership with the CFA, we want to ensure these students are visible within the credit ecosystem for more equitable lending when they’re ready. Access to fair and affordable credit can help them, and all consumers, get a college degree, buy a car or a home, start a business, and ultimately build wealth and achieve greater financial success,” says Raudy Perez, Experian North America’s senior director for diversity, equity, and inclusion partnerships.
Experian research shows there are 28 million U.S. consumers who are unable to participate in the mainstream financial ecosystem today because they don’t have a financial identity. Credit invisibility more frequently impacts underserved communities with 26 percent of Hispanic consumers and 28 percent of Black consumers unscoreable or invisible compared to 16 percent of White and Asian consumers. That can make homeownership, the greatest driver of generational wealth, an even bigger challenge for underserved communities. As part of its mission of financial inclusion and empowerment for all, Experian partners with HomeFree-USA to provide continuing education for its housing counselors and resources for their clients. The company created the Home Preservation Grant, which supported homeowners at risk of losing their homes due to COVID-related hardships with credit education and mortgage relief. Inclusion Forward – Experian Empowering Opportunities™ harnesses Experian’s data, analytics, and technology to help clients provide more affordable credit access to diverse communities. The Mortgage Bankers Association recently honored Experian with its 2022 DEI Leadership Award. To learn more about Experian’s work in diverse communities: visit www.experian.com/diversity.