Thanks to New York University Federal Credit Union’s “Making Ends Meet” financial education program, low-wealth students of New York University are better equipped to reach life-changing goals. Since starting the program in the 2010-2011 school year, over 5,000 students have attended one of the credit union’s seminars. New York University FCU (NYUFCU) has also seen their delinquency and overdraft fees decrease as a result of the program.
NYUFCU received a grant from the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) last year to launch their “Making Ends Meet” initiative. The New York Credit Union Foundation also helped fund NYUFCU’s program. “Making Ends Meet” leverages targeted group financial education using National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) curriculum modified to change behavior related to account overdraft, late loan payments and one-on-one coaching strategically deployed to cease the behavior and move students into credit and asset building upon graduation.
New York University students pose with Mira Ness (top right), President/CEO of New York University FCU. The students were helping Ness with financial education seminars during the university's 'welcome week.'
“Ironically, few college students receive good financial education,” said Christopher Morris, NCUF Director of Communications. “Credit unions are the ideal institution to help students achieve financial freedom and NYUFCU’s program is evidence of that.”
NYFCU Helps Students “Make Ends Meet”
Students and teachers are people of low-wealth facing growing financial burdens. Students in particular face the financial stress of credit card debt and being unequipped to handle the world of personal finances. According to the Richmond Credit Abuse Resistant Education (CARE) Program, the number of 18 to 24-year-olds declaring bankruptcy has increased 96 percent in 10 years.
The “Making Ends Meet” program helps students continue their pursuit of higher education, develop financial skills that produce behavioral change to reduce and prevent account overdraft and loan payment delinquency. This also helps mitigate risk at the financial institution. NYUFCU’s innovative program is one of the first to include classroom style learning and one-on-one coaching in tandem with waived fees for participation, while working within the lifestyle of the college student. Free financial education and coaching delivered directly where these students live and attend classes both attracts new credit union members and addresses the need of underserved consumers of low-wealth. Finally, by working with NYU, the program helps thousands of students keep from obtaining high-interest debt and credit cards and being forced to drop out of school.
Seminars for Students
During the school year, NYFCU hosted numerous financial education seminars for the freshmen students on topics such as "Smart Money Management: College budget," "Understanding your credit report," "Wise use of credit cards," and others. Most recently they conducted a "Smart Money management" seminar at the NYU School of Dentistry for graduate students with 307 students in attendance.
NYUFCU’s modest goal for the initial seminars was to have 50 students attend. By the end of the school year, over 5,000 students ultimately attended the seminars. More importantly, NYUFCU saw results and increased membership. The credit union’s delinquency decreased from 0.72% to 0.37% from December to March. During the same time period, overdraft fees decreased from $980 to $625 and the credit union has opened over 200 student checking accounts.
A Foundation Grant at Work
NCUF Grants are made possible by supporters of the Foundation and the Community Investment Fund (CIF), an award-winning system of investments that help credit unions earn dividends while donating to national and state community development programs.
This “Grant at Work” is part of a series highlighting NCUF grantees making a positive impact in their community and empowering consumers to achieve financial independence through credit unions.
About the National Credit Union Foundation (ncuf.coop):
NCUF is funded primarily by investments in the award-winning Community Investment Fund (CIF) and by generous Supporters led by the Credit Union National Association and CUNA Mutual Group. All NCUF donors provide support that empowers NCUF and state credit union foundations to make a real impact in the credit union community.
The National Credit Union Foundation is the US credit union movement’s primary national philanthropic program provider, fundraiser and grant-maker. Through NCUF grants and programs, credit unions provide widespread financial education, create greater access to affordable financial services, and empower more consumers to save, build assets, and own homes.
The National Credit Union Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization. NCUF continues to earn the Better Business Bureau seal of approval as an “Accredited Charity” for meeting all 20 BBB Wise Giving Alliance Standards for national charities.