Guardian will develop a national program, Money Management for Life, which will focus on personal financial responsibility and financial literacy for community college students. The goal is to equip students with the practical, real-world financial education they need to make sound money management decisions throughout their lives. The program's centerpiece is a for-credit course that is designed to complement the core curricula of participating schools. Guardian is providing full financial support, covering all students' tuition costs and instructors' fees. The class has been designed by education professionals to achieve superior academic outcomes. Guardian guest speakers supplement the core curriculum, sharing their extensive knowledge of disciplined money management. This provides an opportunity for students to gain the skills necessary to effectively manage one's personal finances; network with industry executives; and discover career opportunities in the insurance field.
The program will include for-credit and not-for-credit classes, conferences, and other educational events supported by Guardian volunteers with expertise in this field. Initial pilots will focus on for-credit community college courses developed by educators in collaboration with Guardian. Guardian volunteers from field and home offices will contribute knowledge and expertise as guest speakers and ongoing instruction and mentoring. Follow up instruction, resources and mentoring will be provided by Guardian volunteers that will help address course curriculum and financial service careers.
Four pilot courses are being conducted in three community colleges in the summer and fall of 2013: Capital Community College in Hartford CT, Gateway Community College in New Haven CT, and Norwalk Community College in Norwalk, CT.
National rollout will begin in 2014 and the program will expand to twenty community colleges by 2017. The rate of expansion may change based on the success of the preliminary courses and as partnerships are built. National rollout of program in nine community colleges in 2014 and expanded to fifteen colleges in 2015 and twenty colleges in 2016. The program is expected to sponsor one to two classes per campus per year with 20-25 students per class. Student matriculation is estimated to reach over 2,000 in 2017, growing from approximately 80 students in 2013 to 220 in 2014, 440 in 2015, 660 in 2016, and 660 in 2017.
Curriculum development for each new college will begin the semester prior to the first offering of the course. Each class will be designed by education professionals to achieve rigorous academic outcomes. Guardian guest speakers will supplement the core curriculum, sharing their extensive knowledge of disciplined money management and providing networking opportunities for students. Guardian will work with each community college to develop a customized approach to the program, incorporating best practices in design and structure from prior course offerings as appropriate.
Exploration and piloting of other aspects of the program, including an on-line course, student internships, and financial literacy workshops will begin in 2014.
Many Americans lack fundamental financial understanding and, as a consequence, face great financial insecurity. While there are dozens of financial literacy programs for students in grades 3-12 that teach basic personal finance skills, these programs rarely intersect with life events in a manner that can foster change in financial planning and decision-making.
Community colleges offer a pathway to prosperity for many disconnected communities and are a significant focus of national dialogue on workforce development, education, and youth leadership. Not only do community colleges have a diverse student body, but investment in these students has a strong return on investment. Some evidence suggests that a person with an Associate Degree will earn $500,000 more over their lifetime than a high school graduate.
Guardian is passionate about increasing opportunities for people to build better lives through its current philanthropic focus on financial literacy and responsibility. Guardian will focus its skills, knowledge, and resources to address the importance of financial responsibility as a means for individuals to achieve career goals and contribute to a healthier US economy. The company will provide personal money management and financial education for community college students, who will benefit from training and counsel to form strong financial foundations for their future.
Guardian is seeking community colleges to partner in development and offer for-credit financial management courses; partnerships for technology to support the program, including computers for students, online resources, WebEx and videoconferencing; organizations or individual academics to participate in advisory 'panel of experts' to refine curriculum and approach; organizations with expertise in community college administration to navigate course development and accreditation; textbook providers.