Students attending historically black collges and universities such as the two schools that participated in the 2008 Angel City Classic-Morehouse College and Prarie View A & M-will be recieving financial literary assistance in regards to their student loans. /Eric Wade

More than 50 historically black colleges and universities will now be better equipped at handling student loan defaults, thanks to a new program implemented by the United Negro College Fund and Capital One Financial Corporation.

With student loan defaults on the rise, increasing attention is turning toward financial literacy to help address this critical issue facing many of the nation’s young people, particularly students of color.

Education about financial literacy is the key. To help meet this challenge, UNCF and Capital One Financial Corporation are providing an innovative new financial education program designed to empower tens of thousands of students with important money management skills at more than 50 historically black colleges and universities across the country.

The Capital One Financial Scholars Program is powered by EverFi’s award-winning 3D educational gaming platform. The platform leverages new media to bring important financial topics to life, including student loan management, opening a bank account, budgeting, credit scores, stocks and bonds, credit cards and debt management, paying taxes and the choice between home-ownership and renting.

The new program, which builds upon an existing UNCF financial literacy initiative, is expected to reach an estimated 50,000 students in the first twelve months.

“The financial commitments and choices college students make today can impact their lives for years and even decades into the future, yet most students have never taken a personal finance class and are unprepared to make these important decisions. The goal for this program is to help our students develop practical money management skills and avoid common financial mistakes,” said Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D. UNCF president and CEO.

“Capital One’s commitment to financial education is commendable, and we are thankful for the company’s support in bringing this innovative educational platform to thousands of students across the country.”
The state of Virginia has at least five recognized historical black colleges and universities-Hampton University, Norfolk State, Virginia State, Virginia Union and Saint Paul’s College-that could reap the benefits of the new program.

“Financial literacy is one of the most important skills for a student to acquire in this day and age. Our young people are Virginia’s future, and their ability to manage their finances well and make smart decisions will be crucial to the prosperity and vitality of the Commonwealth in the years ahead,” said Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell.

“I thank the UNCF, Capital One and EverFi for putting together this important program, and bringing it to students at some of Virginia’s historically black colleges and universities. This program will only enhance the world class education long provided by these schools.”

Unlike other financial education programs, the Capital One Financial Scholars Program continually assesses student progress and provides student certification upon successful completion of the program. Several participating colleges and universities plan to incorporate the program into first-year student orientation.

“As an institution of higher learning, Paul Quinn College is working to prepare young men and women for a bright and successful future. Part of that preparation includes learning how to manage money and make smart financial choices,” said Michael Sorrell, President of Paul Quinn College.

“We are delighted to offer the Capital One Financial Scholars program, which builds upon the UNCF Financial Scholars program currently being offered on our campus. We believe that participating in this program will help our students feel more confident about managing their personal finances and student loans in the future.”

That future looks like it is slowly slipping away. According to an article, which appeared on the news website New America Media, a study by CollegeMeasures.org., show that historically black colleges and universities account for the highest student loan default rate in 19 states. Even more disturbing is that the report found that HBCU’s made up 42 percent of the 116 schools reported with a 10 percent or higher student loan default rate.

“Capital One is proud to invest in bringing this unique financial literacy program to college students around the country, many of whom are making significant financial commitments in order to further their education,” said Steve Gannon, Executive Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Capital One. “We believe the EverFi platform provides an engaging, cutting-edge platform to help students build financial decision-making skills that they will use now and for the rest of their lives.”