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Initiatives Created for HBCU Business Students

June 21, 2021

Written by AACSB staff and published in AACSB

The new programs aim to improve career opportunities and financial literacy.

Funding has been announced for two new initiatives aimed at improving career and educational opportunities for students at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs):

A focus on finance. Three finance firms are working with three HBCUs on a new 90 million USD initiative designed to attract more diverse students to the alternative investment industry. Apollo Global Management, Ares Management Corporation, and Oaktree Capital Management will launch AltFinance in partnership with Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, and Spelman College, all based in Atlanta.

One component of the 10-year initiative will be a fellowship program that provides select students at the partner HBCUs with opportunities to work directly with mentors to learn the basics of finance. The fellowship program will be run in partnership with Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT), a national nonprofit organization working to ensure that Black, Hispanic/Latino, and Native American people reach the highest levels of corporate America. AltFinance fellows also will have access to needs-based scholarship funding.

Another component of the initiative will be a tailored virtual institute that provides the educational materials and tools necessary to excel in the alternative investment industry. The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in Philadelphia has signed on to create the virtual institute, which will be open to interested students at all HBCUs.

The AltFinance initiative will be administered by ALT Finance Corporation, a nonprofit organization established by the three founding firms. Apollo, Ares, and Oaktree will each contribute 3 million USD per year for 10 years. AltFinance is expected to launch by the first half of 2022 and may expand beyond the three initial partner HBCUs in years to come.

A focus on the future. The Historically Black Colleges & Universities Community Development Action Coalition (HBCU CDAC) has launched a financial wellness initiative, Our Money Matters (OMM), for college students of color. The 5.6 million USD initiative is funded exclusively by the Wells Fargo Foundation. It takes a holistic approach to helping students who may be facing food and housing insecurity, college debt, and other financial hardships, and it increases their opportunities for financial inclusion and future economic success.

OMM was launched on seven HBCU campuses: Allen University, Bowie State University, Lincoln University, Miles College, Morris Brown College, Southern University at New Orleans, and University of Illinois at Chicago. Over the next three years, OMM will expand to 25 HBCU and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) across the U.S., equipping roughly 40,000 students of color with financial capability skills and personalized tools for managing finances and student loans. It will also provide them with access to support services like career closets, where students can obtain professional clothes for interviews and other events, and emergency financial assistance. Over the long term, this initiative aims to accelerate opportunities for building generational wealth within communities of color to help close the racial wealth divide.

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