Foundations Help Give Students Sound Financial Start

After participating in a financial education for students seminar hosted by the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties, Jaclyn Verity, a 2013 Community Foundation scholar and a freshman at the University of Miami, quickly realized that she’ll be faced with many financial realities while in college. Besides understanding the impact of debt, establishing credit and making wise credit card choices, it was the guidance to create a budget that started her on a sound financial path.

To make certain that students are in the best possible financial situation when they graduate college, Citi Foundation, CredAbility and the Community Foundation joined forces to educate college-bound students about the financial decisions ahead of them.

Financial education for students was launched in June after the Community Foundation received a $50,000 grant from Citi Foundation. The grant was used to provide financial education counseling from CredAbility, a leading national provider of credit counseling and education, to the Community Foundation’s 2013 scholarship recipients and applicants. The financial education included group workshops for students and their parents, as well as personal, one-on-one counseling for scholarship recipients.

“I really enjoyed my personal session with CredAbility, especially learning about the importance of having a budget,” Verity said. “After my meeting, I created a personal budget and even downloaded an app to help track my spending. I know it’s important for me to develop good habits now, so when I graduate, I’m in a good financial position.”

The financial education workshops conducted by CredAbility were attended by 150 students and their families in June. CredAbility covered a variety of topics, including student loans, the implications of being past due and establishing good credit.

During the summer and throughout the school year, CredAbility will provide one-on-one counseling for each of the foundation’s 89 scholarship recipients. The goal is to provide vital knowledge so they will make wise choices while in college.

“Students are constantly faced with situations involving money and finances,” said Ramon Rodriguez, a community officer with Citi Community Development. “Citi Foundation’s aim is to provide students and their families with practical tools and financial knowledge so students have a better chance at being successful. If they learn to make sound financial decisions early on, they will increase their chances of leading economically sustainable adult lives.”

Over the past several years, since the start of the recent economic downturn, more students entering college are already in difficult financial situations. Many students and their families face homelessness because of foreclosures, and there has been a dramatic increase in the number of students whose parents are unemployed.

According to a House of Representatives bill, the Young Adults Financial Literacy Act, which was introduced in 2011, young adults (ages 20-24) represent the fastest-growing segment of bankruptcy filings. In 2010, national student loan debt exceeded credit card debt for the first time in history and has risen to more than $1.1 trillion. To read more and to find additional resources, visit

For more on CredAbility, visit For more on Citi Foundation, visit For more on the Community Foundation, visit