On June 14th, administrators and educators from 14 community colleges in Massachusetts came to the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston for an important discussion on the financial challenges of community college students. Over 30 representatives from across college departments attended the event, including Presidents, Vice Presidents of Enrollment and Student Affairs or Services, Deans of Academic Affairs, and Directors of Financial Aid, among others. With a large number of low-to-moderate income (LMI) individuals served by these institutions, the need to improve financial capabilities of community college students is aligned with the Boston Fed’s commitment to promote economic growth in LMI communities across New England. To frame the discussion, “financial capability” was defined as “capacity based on knowledge, skills, and access to make well-informed financial decisions.” The convening featured guest speakers from across the country, provided a snapshot of the financial capabilities of community college students nationally, described different models and approaches for improving financial capabilities, and guided working group discussions of different visions, challenges, and strategies for incorporating this component into existing institutional structures.
Feedback from participants indicated that the event was a valuable experience, with three-quarters of post-event survey respondents reporting an increase in their knowledge of programs and services to improve students’ financial capabilities. Many respondents also expressed strong interest in learning more about matched savings programs for community college students as presented by guest speaker, Maggie Reilly, who described efforts of CASA of Oregon to administer educational matched savings accounts for multiple partners in the educational sector in the northwest.
Moving forward, the Boston Fed will form task forces or working groups to think strategically about ways to incorporate financial capability efforts institutionally, launch an online survey to assess the current capacity of New England community colleges to do this work, and produce a publication that describes the Boston Fed’s partnership with community colleges and learning from relevant efforts nationwide.
|8:30 – 9:00AM||
Registration and Continental Breakfast
|9:00 – 9:15||
Welcome and Program Overview
Richard C. Walker, III
|9:15 – 10:30||
Painting the Picture: Financial Capabilities of Community College Students
Moderator: Sol Carbonell
Capabilities & Challenges: An Overview of National and Local Data
Gary R. Mottola, Ph.D.
The Local Response: What’s Happening in Massachusetts
|10:30 – 10:45||Break|
|10:45 – 12:15PM||
National Models of Financial Education in Community Colleges
Moderator: Dawn Hicks
Ann Lyn Hall
|12:15 – 1:00||
Working Session: Developing a Comprehensive Approach
Moderator: Deborah Bloomberg
|1:00 – 2:00||
Working Session Results/Discussion
Learn more about becoming involved in the Boston Fed’s work with community colleges