In 2019, Change Machine partnered with the Annie E. Casey Foundation to mitigate student loan debt at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in North Carolina. The partnership model is multi-pronged and includes virtual financial coaching services for students, expanded data support for departments of financial aid, and the convening of higher education stakeholders around state-level solutions to the national student loan debt crisis. In 2021, we are expanding the partnership geographically to include Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia.
The need to deepen financial coaching supports for students and families, while bolstering schools' capacity to mitigate student loan debt, has been accelerated by COVID-19. Since the onset of the pandemic, our HBCU coaching customers have accumulated over $10,000 in debt, while savings has risen by approximately $500. These shifts in savings and debt are accompanied by a series of financial shocks, including changes in household size, loss of income, and lack of sufficient childcare. By supporting HBCUs at the individual, structural, and systemic levels, our goal is to mitigate financial insecurity among students and families while closing the racial and gender wealth gaps over time.
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