WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, Student Freedom Initiative (SFI), Stackwell, and Prudential Financial announced that the Student Investment Program (SIP), a multi-year strategic partnership granting $500,000 in funding to students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) nationwide, has successfully completed the registration of its 415 student cohort. The pilot program, which launched in November 2022, is providing participants with investment education programming and distributing $1,000 grants to each student’s investment account on the Stackwell platform. A first-of-its-kind program in the U.S., SIP was developed as a mechanism to attack the racial wealth gap in the United States by increasing access to financial education and resources, and empowering young Black students to build and sustain personal wealth. The $500,000 in funding to students is also matched by an additional $500,000 to support an impact study, management and additional investment education services during the program
The 415 student participants who are embarking on their financial journey represent a rich cross-section of students from 33 HBCUs and MSIs across the country, including Morehouse College, Tuskegee University, Hampton University, Florida A&M University, and the University of California Riverside, among others. The majority of participants are women, who are 51% of the cohort, with 48% of participants identifying as male, and 1% as non-binary. The students hail from 32 states across the country, and range in age from 18 to 54, with an average GPA of 3.49. SIP participants span all four years of college, with 30% enrolled in their freshman year, 21% in their sophomore year, 27% in their junior year, and 22% in their senior year of college.
“I chose to apply for this program because as my life is changing, I want to be proactive instead of reactive with my finances,” said Jacob Butler, a freshman from Hampton University and SIP program participant. “It’s crucial for me to know all of the ins and outs of finance from a young age. The Student Investment Program is something that my fellow students need to take part in now so that we can benefit from it as we continue to grow.”
Each SIP participant is currently enrolled in Prudential Pathways℠ workshops, which are online financial wellness courses that teach the fundamentals of finances and investing. Students will utilize the knowledge they gain to help grow their investment accounts with Stackwell. Grant funding is distributed to the investment accounts of participating students over a 12-month period to encourage participants to sustain their investment commitments and develop wealth-building behaviors. Stackwell is providing additional investment education and support through on-campus events and in-app tools.
“The Student Investment Program provides us with money to start investing and is teaching us a lot,” said Ashanti Bonne, a Bowie State sophomore. “This is really important to me because I’ve recently tried to get into investing but didn’t know where to start or the best ways to do it. Now I will have webinars and tools and money to get started. It’s an awesome program.”
“We hope the Student Investment Program will provide students with the tools they need to become more financially confident, create personal and generational wealth, and pique interest in careers in the financial and investment sector,” said Sarah Keh, Vice President of Inclusive Solutions at Prudential Financial. “Through this program, and in partnership with SFI and Stackwell, we are expanding access to investing opportunities for traditionally untapped markets and meeting the needs of the next generation of leaders.”
The SIP partners also announced the launch of an industry-facing impact study led by Financial Health Network that will be released upon completion of the program. This comprehensive survey will demonstrate program outcomes and outline the potential impact SIP can have if it is scaled and expanded for subsequent student cohorts.
The racial wealth gap is the largest of the economic disparities between Black and White Americans, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. Federal Reserve data show White households hold on average eight times more wealth than Black households, with that figure growing to 17-times for the Millennial population and Gen Z. By providing financial acumen to the most affected generations in the Black community, the SIP seeks to increase the students’ financial preparedness, address inequities in access to financial education, and help position the participants to begin their post-secondary education lives with financial stability.
To learn more about the SIP, please visit: https://studentfreedominitiative.org/student-investment-program/.
About Student Freedom Initiative
A single purpose nonprofit organization, Student Freedom Initiative aims to reduce the wealth gap through the lens of education. This is achieved by providing a catalyst for freedom in professional and life choices for students attending Minority Serving Institutions (“MSIs”) by increasing their social and economic mobility using a student centric, evidence based, holistic, and collaborative approach. Initially focused on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Student Freedom Initiative enables mobility through four transformational components: (1) Student Freedom Fund as a private education loan alternative to Parent PLUS loans, (2) Internships and industry-driven certifications, (3) Comprehensive Supports, and (4) Targeted MSI Capacity Building (e.g., access to affordable broadband, strengthening endowment governance and risk adjusted returns, workforce development in clean energy). Student Freedom Initiative collaborates with community-based organizations, businesses, and governmental entities through public-private partnerships to make sustainable, systemic changes to support the entire MSI ecosystem.
To date, the Student Freedom Initiative has received generous contributions from Robert F. Smith, Fund 2 Foundation, Cisco, Jane Street, Prudential, First Republic, and the Walmart Foundation. The program has also been acknowledged and supported by the Business Roundtable’s Racial Equity & Justice Subcommittee on Education. Our ability to provide support to MSI students is based on the continued financial support of these donors and others interested in supporting our mission.
Stackwell Capital, Inc., is a fintech company that has created a digital investment platform for the Black community that is designed to eliminate the racial wealth gap in America. Stackwell provides the financial investment tools and guidance necessary to help build lasting wealth, equity, and equal opportunity. Stackwell is a member of the 2022 Financial Solutions Lab, and MassChallenge U.S. Early Stage accelerator programs. For more information, visit stackwellcapital.com.
About Prudential Financial
Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), a global financial services leader and premier active global investment manager with approximately $1.4 trillion in assets under management as of December 31, 2022, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Prudential’s diverse and talented employees help make lives better by creating financial opportunity for more people by expanding access to investing, insurance, and retirement security. Prudential's iconic Rock symbol has stood for strength, stability, expertise, and innovation for nearly 150 years. For more information, please visit news.prudential.com.