40 Acres And A Degree: How Four HBCUs Are Closing The Racial Wealth Gap

Just Economy Conference – May 12, 2021

 

Student loan debt continues to enlarge the racial wealth gap, disproportionately impacting Black women at every stage of the process. 40 Acres and a Degree is a consortium of HBCUs partnering with Change Machine to prevent, mitigate and manage student loan debt within their respective communities. Through a suite of strategies that includes virtual financial coaching, the repurposing of existing datasets, and convening HBCU partners on policy recommendations, this consortium is working to close the racial wealth gap in their own backyards. In this session, we’ll hear from HBCU partners who are leading this work, examine various datasets and engage attendees in a robust conversation around policy solutions rooted in the lived experience of students, families, administrators and faculty.

Speakers:

  • Ashley Harrington, Federal Advocacy Director and Senior Counsel, Center for Responsible Lending
  • Nichole Lewis, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs/Dean of Students, Elizabeth City State University
  • Bridget Tate, Director of National Programs, Change Machine
  • Juniqui Hairston, Executive Admin Partner, Lenovo

Transcript:

NCRC video transcripts are produced by a third-party transcription service and may contain errors. They are lightly edited for style and clarity.

Tate 

Thank you for joining us for today’s panel, 40 Acres and a degree. We would like to thank NCRC for this opportunity in this national platform to share the work that we at Change Machine are doing in concert with national HBCUs. My name is Bridget Tate and I’m the director of national programs at Change Machine. We’re excited to share with you the current work we’re engaged in that impacts, influences and impedes systemic barriers that are created by design that continue to marginalize black students and black communities and reaching financial mobility. 40 acres and a degree as many of you have probably caught on is obviously a spin on “40 acres and a mule.” The promise of restoration and refuge and reparations for the black community. That never happened. Education and homeownership has historically been touted as the straightest path to black communities could take at reaching financial success and mobility. This very path has proven to not only be not straight, but an actual reality, a path of burdens, systemic barriers, and pitfalls. Today, we will discuss the historical context of generational wealth, racial equity, and actionable partnerships and solutions that we can all take to address these racial injustices. I’m joined today by Dr. Lewis. She is the Dean of Students for the Division of Student Affairs at Elizabeth City State University. We are also joined by Ashley Harrington. She is the federal advocacy director and a senior counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending. And Juniqui Hairston is an HBCU graduate from North Carolina Central University. And she is here to share with us her personal experience as a student carrying college debt post graduation. Welcome, everybody. And I’m going to start with you, Dr. Lewis and get us kicked off, you were one of the first partnerships that Change Machine made with an HBCU. And at that time, you weren’t in your current role. But thank goodness you carried us with you where you went. And so I want to just kind of kick off with you, you understand the work that we’re doing, you have such a great perspective in regards to financial insecurities and how it relates to students. So I want to ask you, Dr. Lewis, if you could tell us a little bit about how does integrating financial securities within existing departments cause impact for students and the impact that you see?

Dr. Lewis

Thank you so much, Bridget. So for us, and for most of our institutions, although we all have our own mold, we often still still pull from and serve the same kinds of students with the same kinds of backgrounds. At Elizabeth City State University, we’re located in North Eastern North Carolina. And we pull largely from 21 of the 100 counties in the state, that are considered to be tier one, which for us is high role, high poverty, low access to some of those basic needs, and those things that that helped to allow us to be responsible and engaged citizens. And so when we talk about and think about that impact in integrating, each time a student has an interaction, right with a person, whether they’re in the residence hall, whether they’re in a diamond facility, where they’re actually coming through financial aid, whether they are in a career development workshop, not having a sense of the importance of financial stability, and security, hinders their productivity, and moving towards their goal. And so while I have a student who may come into my office, as a dean of students, I often see students who are not in and that have maybe not made the best decisions in a variety of ways about a variety of things. But in the greater context, I’m interacting with them for a very finite period of time for a very finite reason. When we delve deeper, it is often those financial insecurities that unawareness that makes them make certain decisions around conduct, around decisions about remaining on campus, moving off campus that then puts them into a bind. But it is also the only time that they may have where they’re engaging with someone who has an understanding and is willing to take the time to unpack why those decisions have been made. And what household they come from, that has now been illuminated by the lack of education, the lack of engagement, the lack of exposure becomes illuminated in their collegiate experience. And so each one of our areas, having access to those resources, each one of our areas when educated around ways that they can coast through as if I’m making different decisions now that will impact them long term really is crucial, because that person may not go to the session about the financial literacy, they may not go to us session that talks about mobility and social mobility always been linked, therefore to financial mobility. So if you don’t have those integrated spaces, then we often lose that student and we do them a disservice. And so for us to graduate, a student who has not had an opportunity to be exposed to Then educated about, and then I able to apply the resources and get those resources, we’re in the confines of our campuses, then we send out a graduate who is no more prepared to live differently, to live wholly to live better to make a better contribution, not just to the greatest society, but even to give back to the institution, so that the next generation of people can be educated in that same vein, and soar even higher. 

Tate 

So appreciate all that there was an Amen moment and what you were saying, I want to stop and pause. Because of the connection that you made in the intersectionality of all of these things that come together, and that mobility, you mentioned social mobility, right behind financial mobility. And that’s really what we’re talking about today. We’re talking about generational wealth, we’re talking about bad information or just not getting the information. You know, there’s often a false narrative out there that says that within our committee, community, there’s this like literacy problem, because we often use the word literacy when we talk about finances. And, you know, I’m here to break those chains, that chains of information, because what we’re really talking about is not the lack of the knowledge, it’s about the access to the information, and for the information to be good information. And so I appreciate the work that you’re doing. And I know that over the course of your tenure on multiple campuses, and working with, specifically black students, you’ve seen this from many spectrums. Can you share with me just a little bit about how your outgoing students, and then your incoming students what those baseline differences potentially could look like, while you are having access to financial constraints and support for somebody to help them navigate through those goals.

Dr. Lewis 

So if I look at my incoming class, my current students who were admitted for the fall, or who will be admitted for fall 2021 55% of those students at this point, a little bit over 1000 are Pell Grant eligible. My percentages are matched when I look at the EFC for students. So for that, what that means is what the students’ families are for truancy, and ability to contribute to any portion of tuition. And so 55% of my first year students are 0%, that means their family does not have the opportunity to give $1 toward their academic pursuits. And so all that brings all the things that happened in the nation, all the things that happened, all those so that’s health care that the the types of degrees or or professional trainings, or trades that allow someone to live and operate, and a working ways. They’re coming from that space. And so I like the fact that you say, Bridget, feel that it’s not about literacy, it’s about a different language, because they do know how to move money. They don’t they know how to move money, they know how to make money, how to have a move there, how to delay this. There is a way in which they’re managing money, it is not a sustainable way of managing money. And it is not always forward thinking, in some places. Not some places, I don’t want to give a blanket statement, right. But in many of those spaces, what it equates to is they’ve gotten you to this point. So wherever that looks like in that first year, and we talk about even retention is building a plan that gets you in today, right? I get enough to pay your enrollment fee, I get enough to pay your housing application fee. I get enough for this first semester. But I haven’t been trained or educated that this is a long game, right? So that after that first year, or that first semester, all those things come due again. And then there’s more. And then I get this great opportunity because I’m getting the grades, I’m involved in student organizations, I am engaged, I am becoming aware because I’m attending career because the nominees gone to internship, and I need to live somewhere that is in Elizabeth City, or that isn’t Durham. And I need to go and stay in Washington DC or I need to move to Wichita because that’s where it is. I need to go to Troy, Michigan because I’m going to go and do an internship with Kellog or General Mills. And I haven’t been set up in a way and I haven’t had the education and allows them to do that. But I’m able to get to that point. So my outgoing students and I’ve had that experience and that exposure so they get the opportunity to we get the opportunity to control the narrative but almost forced the narrative. So I get to say So now you would like to be engaged and involved in student leadership. And now you would like to be engaged is a as a resident Hall assistant, and now you want to be a career ambassador, when order to do that, you’ve got to sit through and be exposed to some of these things, you got to do some coaching, we got to do some things because somebody is going to come to you, as a student or peer educator, you might be the point the only point of contact that another student has so I’m going to educate you. And so then when you’re leaving, as a senior, you’ve already had that exposure, you have to reteach it, you have to peer teach it. And so you still don’t know all the things I think we all can admit, as well advocate and expose we are we’ve probably made some bad decisions. Somewhere along the way, I’m sure there’s a MBA program I might still be paying for. And I’m a doctor. But nonetheless, you live a little longer. But there were some key things that I knew coming out, right. And so what I can say about that senior class, is that that group gets to have that exposure, and they get to apply it right now. So they’re taking a little bit of their own, learn it, know it, earn it, apply it now. But they have a better understanding of how to play the long game once they finish school.

Tate

Thank you so much for that, Dr. Lewis, that the mentioning of I, what I hear is that each one teach one because I’ve been often after this journey, why HBCUs. And I said, because there’s a culture already on campus, there’s a history already embedded of this community of us wanting to each one teach one, I’m a leave you better than what I found you. And so talking about embedding and fit these financial securities within these existing programs, is changing the trajectory not only of that student in regards to retention opportunity, but when we dropped them in another community, the systems that they will be able to provide to that community, either in their professional or potential, just personal role. And that’s what that network effect is, that is what our history is written. And so it was really easy doing this with HBCUs. Because you didn’t have to explain it. Like we just know, I’m, you know, if I can give you the good information, you don’t take it up yonder, and you gonna share it out. So thank you so much, Dr. Lewis. for that. I’m going to pivot for a moment to Juniqui, who is also known as Jun. Hi, Jun, thank you so much for joining us. 

Hairston

Hi. How’s everyone today? 

Tate

Good, good. Good. June is a graduate of North Carolina Central University. And I have worked with June in the past. And so I know a little bit about June and she was kind enough to come on having had a coaching opportunity, having understood this space, but I don’t know that her story is so unique. As we get to Ashley, we’ll see that this data matches some of the data she’s going to share with us. But she wanted to come on and we wanted her here to speak from the perspective of not only an HBCU grads, but uh, as having managed the school system, student loans and where you are now post graduation. And what is that debt doing? Is it serving you? spill the tea, June. If you don’t mind, I want to start with would you mind sharing with us how much student loan debt you have? And did you know that it was going to be this much this far out because of interest.

Hairston

So right now I am sitting at, I want to say 72,000. I didn’t know that because when I left school, I was sitting at 50,000 for you know my degrees in my four years. So I was one of those people who tried to do, you know, the income repayment plan thing, but at the time, like because of my employment, you know, it just came out to not having to pay a balance because of my employment. And then with that, of course that affects your credit. So my credit plummeted. And it plummeted every year that I did that.

So I did this crazy thing and tried to go to grad school. On top of that, things didn’t work out with that. So I’m sitting on that day as well, which is included in the $72,000 right now. 

Tate

So you’re not alone. I did a podcast six months ago. I think that that was what it was time Have a l o. m, because you are not a loan either. And you many, Ashley is going to speak to us a little bit about that. And I won’t go strong into the numbers right now. But I will definitely mention that we know that black students hold higher debt than their counterparts. And we know this for various reasons. And it’s really important to begin, you’ll hear me say this and set that narrative, I want to be very clear about the narrative, there is an accountability piece to those who take out the loan, I hear you I serve you, my coaches are here to work with them. But on that same token, when you sign a piece of paper to get your education with the best intentions, that you’re going to take it and run and hit this and contribute to our society but yet you become so burdened with debt that you can’t even get, you know, to where you need to go. There’s a problem. And it’s a system problem. And it’s a problem that we have to be honest and candid enough to understand that if you are coming from a household who cannot contribute, as Dr. Lewis mentioned, to 0% of your, your, your son or daughter’s education, then that also likely means that you’re not going to be able to contribute to their food and securities, and or their housing potential securities is the additional burdens that come with that. And so we’re going to talk about that a little bit. Because if we peel back that layer, what we’re really talking about is the ability over history to build wealth in our community and our families, so that we successfully can continue through with the next generation to not only obtain their degree, but to be contributors in society in a holistic way without the burden. So with that, I’m coming back to June because we definitely got some more questions. Thank you for sharing that part. Ashley, June has already spoken on where she’s at as an individual. And we definitely want her to know she’s not alone. And I know that you have data, Ashley, that shares that I know that you do great research, and do you have a racial lens on this debt equally? And so at this time, I have a ton of questions for you. But what I want to know, because CRL is the data is – they really do capture data, I want to know what the data is telling us. And what about that data mimics the systemic racial barriers in the financial world that continue to contribute, in fact, this in a way such as it is. 

Harrington

Absolutely. Um, so I’m gonna go ahead and share my screen now. That’s all right.

So the data is telling us, I’m sorry, that we’re in a crisis, right? You’re absolutely not alone. When we say we’re in a crisis, there are over 44 million, almost 45 million people struggling under the weight of student debt. I have student debt, a lot of it. So we know we and there’s and there’s a reason, right, we know exactly how we got here. And black women are the ones who are struggling the most on student debt. So not only are you not alone, you’re not alone because most of the – a lot of people struggling with student debt look like us. And society has set it up that way. So we’re at $1.7 trillion in debt outstanding, and people are struggling 55%, that’s over half of us undergrads are unable to pay down their debt for the first three years after they graduate. In 2016, almost 70% of graduating seniors borrowed for college, and they borrowed an average of $30,000. For black students, it was 85%. And they borrow close to 34k. And there’s a lot of reasons why. You know, we’ve seen this jump in how we got to 1.7 trillion how we got to 45 million people. Absolutely. There’s more fuel, taking out loans. There’s been an enrollment growth more people than ever I’m going to call it was the good thing. We’ve opened up access, right. But what does that access look like? Is that access means that you can’t then do the things that we want folks to do after they go to college, then what kind of access are we talking about to us, that’s not meaningful access. And so more people are going to college. There’s also been expanded eligibility for federal loans. But also there’s been this shift from grant aid to loan aid at the federal, state and institutional level. The federal level, the Pell Grant has not kept up with the rising cost of college at the state level. As soon as student bodies diversified, as soon as we got the Civil Rights Act, students, people of color, black folks in particular, and women could go to school safely started disinvesting in higher education, and that has continued. And then after the Great Recession, they’ve had a $10 billion budget hole in their budget and where they get that money from, isn’t it from high risk. And so that didn’t mean that public higher education got cheaper, right? It meant that more of that cost was passed on to students and families and if we know the grant aid is has not been going Up income and wages are stagnant and how families make up that deficit, they make it up in loans, because not only is it more expensive here to take out more loans, but you have to go to college isn’t that a real choice, the majority of jobs since the Great Recession have gone to people with some form of post secondary education. And if you’re a person of color, you have to go to more school, right, you have to get that grad degree, you have to get that professional degree because you want to get the same amount of money that folks get with way less education because of labor market discrimination. So it’s not enough just to have a bachelor’s anymore. We know that we see that every day. And now we’re in the midst of a recession, a pandemic, where people of color have been disproportionately impacted. The level of job loss, the level of businesses that have closed, not to mention, you know, the lives that we have lost, this is all going to absolutely impact the way people continue to struggle with their student debt. So loans are for larger amounts, because the rise in tuition and fees and talked about take long people longer to complete, right if you have to take out all this debt, but you also have to work because it’s not just the tuition, it’s how you pay for food. It’s how you pay for books, it’s how you get to class and how you pay for gas, all those things, how you pay for childcare, right? And so all of that takes money, money that’s not always accounted for when we look at the sticker price. And so people have to work and if you have to work, then it’s gonna take you longer to graduate. You know, one of my favorite things that people say, as I worked my way through college, you can’t work your way through college. You can’t do that anymore. Because if you tried to, you have to work almost 60 hours a week, if you’re working almost 60 hours a week, because of what wages look like, how do you graduate in four years, or even six years, there’s no possible way, this idea you work your way through college is just not true. So we’re making less progress or paying higher balances, they’re more burdensome, there’s higher default rates. And there is more focus on income based repayment, which is a good thing, because that means it’s helping them to manage their debt better. But it does mean that a lot of folks have negatively amortizing loans, meaning that they are not covering them enough each month to cover their interest. And I’m one of those people. And it’s very sad when you look at your balance, and you plug your pay and lots of money every month, and nothing is happening. Right? So how do we get here, so black over more or less have to borrow to borrow more and struggle more of a payment, and that is the direct result of the racial wealth gap. This is a chart here that shows the racial wealth gap for black and black on black folks in this country. And and white folks and Hispanic folks and white folks. So black families have a 10th of the wealth of white families. Latino families have an eighth of the world as my families and as a direct result of public policy decisions, right being denied access to land, credit housing at every turn, not to mention, you know, you know, being property yourself. But at the outset, so all of that has led to this growth, this persistent racial wealth gap, the black homeownership rate today is lower than it was when we pass the Fair Housing Act of 1968, is actually the same as it was in 1898. Right? Think about that, that’s how far that’s how low our homeownership rate is. And when people think about how they’re going to send their kids to college, one of the first things I think about is their home equity. But if we have 44%, homeownership rates, we don’t have we don’t want a lot of us don’t own homes, but to we don’t have a lot of equity. And we lost the most after the Great Recession. Right. And it wasn’t just people who lost their homes. If you had foreclosed homes in your neighborhood, you also lost Now you also lost equity. And so in 2010, our communities were the most impacted by these predatory practices and our neighborhoods were devastated. We lost a trillion dollars in wealth that has never been regained. At the same time, again, go back to that $10 billion budget hole, go back to the Pell Grants not keeping all of that is happening together. And we get to a place where we’re at $1.7 trillion, and you got black people and other people of color struggling the most under the weight of that debt. So we just talked about this. black bars are more likely to default than any of the other groups 20 black ba graduates even are 21% of them or less are going to default versus 4% of white ba graduates, black bachelor’s holders, this is one of the specific that bothers me the most are actually more likely to default and white dropouts. Right? People black bachelor’s degree holders, people with a degree are more likely to default. And folks who have dropped out of college, why folks who dropped out of college, and all this, again goes back to this inability to build wealth and pass it on through generations. And so I like to say the blessing of debt crisis has a unique distinction of being both a product of the racial wealth gap and exacerbating it at the same time. I think that’s where I stop for this month. 

Tate

Well, Ashely, I could listen to you all day. Um, I think you brought it home, you know, you collectively shared a portion of some of what June was talking about. In regards to the repayment, but the payment is not going down. So the debts are not going to disappear. You spoke on what a black graduate with the degree is the default rate and why that is. And I appreciate not only the data, but the insight, I also appreciate that you When do you mention that that was her with its negative amortization, you spoke to that as well. And that tells me though, that the system is so broken, even for those who we believe could self navigate through it need assistance. So that you know, Dr. Lewis, we talked about this and, and your graduates that are coming out of the CSU, and looking towards the future six months out, they’re gonna have to make a student loan payment. And that’s those kinds of conversations that they’re able to have with the financial code sets assisting them at that forward thinking and planning. But can I tell you for all of that, if we don’t get something done with the policy and the legislation, then we will just continue to be knocking on that same door. So Ashley, if you could give me a little bit of what’s on the horizon? What hope shot Can you send June? Are they gonna get rid of some of this debt? What’s the suggestion coming out of CRL?

Harrington

That’s absolutely right. I think that and that’s why I really got into this work. Policies created this problem and created this crisis if we didn’t get her on our own. And so direct policy intervention has to be the answer, right? It can’t all be on us to try to build wealth in a system that wasn’t created for us to build wealth to try to be successful in a system that wasn’t created for us to be successful. And that is abundantly clear. When you look at all of these systems and how they interact. The world is on the horizon. CRL is advocating for annoying many other groups, to advocate for over 50 to advocate for $50,000 in debt cancellation per borrower through executive action. We think it’s not enough to tinker the margins, right? We have, you know, over eight repayment plans. Now there is there’s so many different ways and things to navigate to pay your loans, you have to deal with services, you have to deal with all this other stuff. We can’t fix the system, when we have $1.7 trillion outstanding, we can’t fix the system when we have 44 million people. And we can’t fix the system when we have people of color carrying the burden the most. So our first step, the way we fix this problem, we start with cancellation, any proposal to address the student debt crisis has to start there, we have to do something about the balances. Right now we’re gonna payment pause, you know, over 90% of the 1.7 trillion is federal debt. And so we’re in a payment pause that has been since the start of the pandemic, and it has helped a lot of folks, right. But if we come out of this crisis, we come out of the pandemic and we end this payment pause and balances and look the same, we have a major problem on our hand, because our economy doesn’t look the same. And it’s not going to look the same for a while. And we have to remember that was an economy that was already equitable, we didn’t enter the pandemic at the same place, our communities in inter the communities that enter the pandemic at the same place. And so if we want to come out of this, and we want to get people to possess the potential to not just survive, but thrive, because I don’t think survival should be the goal we should want people to do well, we have to start with debt cancellation. And then after that, there’s a couple of other other steps that we recommend. I’m gonna share my screen one more time. Maybe I don’t need to I don’t think I don’t think I need to I just keep talking. You know, we need to reform income based repayment. So we actually think that though Income Based Repayment supposed to be affordable, it’s not actually that affordable, we should it should be 8% of your income, it should be 15 years is that a 20 or 25 years because 25 years is a mortgage, that should be how long you have your student loans, it should be 15 years and after that it should be forgiven and you should be able to move on with your life. And and you know, black folks and black and Latino folks are more likely to be your income based repayment than any other group. And that means we’re in repayment the longest and we’re the most likely to watch our balances grow through either from reformed repayment has one plan, one income based repayment plan that is easy to access, even navigate. And so and forgiveness after 15 years. Also, we need to do something about what happens when you default. When you leave on a federal loan. It is bad, right? They have extraordinary collection powers. They are garnishing people social security. They are garnishing people’s wages. That is one that is on your credit. But also, all of these federal programs interact. We work on the Paycheck Protection Program and on FHA loans. If you’re in default on a federal loan or even if you were delinquent for program, you can get an SBA loan you can get an FHA loan, and if these are the loans that our communities have to rely on, black and brown borrowers are more likely to use FHA loans to access homeownership than any other group. We can’t get them because we’re in deep on federal loans. And we’re struggling when the folks who went to college should be the ones to be able to buy homes, and yet our homeownership rate is in the 40%, then we have a problem. So we have to do something about what repayment looks like, do something about default, we have to do we have to increase our investment and HBCUs and other mF five and give them what they need to help students need to drastically increase the Pell Grant so that we’ll end up here again in 10 years. And so we need a path to debt free college. But again, it all starts with cancellation. You can’t do all those other things if we don’t start here. 

Tate

Thank you, Ashley. I want to acknowledge this chat. Dr. Lewis, it says in our family systems may mean we have multiple generations accruing debt at same time, can you can you speak on that for me? Because I have seen during this engagement with HBCUs, we extend financial coaching to not only the students, but alumni and faculty. And I need to tell you that the alumni groups are coming, because they’re trying to manage their debt, but since their spouses debt and their children’s debt all at the same time, so it’s Can you speak on that for me a little bit, Dr. Lewis.

Dr. Lewis

So one of the things you know, that we do, and we’ve done the most most many of our institutions, and particularly the last two, three that I’ve been to where we have these recruitment efforts that target non traditional students, right, so we have an opportunity, particularly for those schools who’ve been able to successfully launch an online Academy or distance education programs completely. So we are recruiting, obviously, they’re your traditional age students, we’re also looking at those those parents who may have started and stopped out and so we’re offering those kind of benefits for them opportunity for them to come and finish their degrees, sometimes life happens, we start with two, three years, then something happens we are seeing an athlete, we have to stop by, we can’t do it anymore, we lose the scholarship. Then we go on in life. We have a number of our staff, who actually started at the institution, and then began working at the institution, they were finishing degrees, while they were doing that, all the while having children who have come of age in our in school. But we also have and I’ve seen this, actually, in all three of the HBCU that I’ve been where I’ve been able to contribute in North Carolina, where I’ve had a first generation student calm, and their progression has inspired a parent who never wants school to then enroll and start taking classes, right. And so on one hand, it’s the same as the give and take of the same gift in the curse. So they’re like, great, and Oh mom, how we’re gonna do it? Well, my mom’s older, she’s taking a loan to write, or dad or older, older brothers also taking that loan. And so now I’m in school, I’m almost my parent has gone, or it’s a staff person. scenario I laid out, a supervisor says like, Oh, we gotta be done. And so how are we going to quick news. So the school says, we’ll pay for a couple of classes, a waive the fee for a couple of classes, for you to accelerate, and go ahead and be done with this degree, the merit of that loan option. And so you end up having not just the multi generation, you may have the multiple generational in the household, and everyone is at a different level of speaking. And, of course, the I don’t know, June’s whole story, but I guess a sibling who inspires another sibling, and so then you’re all doing it. It all comes due around the same time. And particularly when you’re then talking about local communities, in schools that are pulling for small communities. And then Where am I going? I may go back to that community, actually, right. And so what are my opportunities because I still have these family obligations to be in Rocky Mount or in wives, Virginia, or in Chester, Pennsylvania, which is different than in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Right. And so Where am I now working, that is going to earn that earn and Garner that and then and for brown women at our institution, some of the highest majors, right Social Work, criminal justice, education, dutiful masterful careers. And but Public Service Loan Forgiveness is very unique and specific about where you can work and what you can do and how much you earn. And it doesn’t. So it’s down at work that we need please, anybody watching like dose by being going into the field, but part of the financial coaching and what I want to try to bring with these relationships in the partnership that we have is is a great you want to be a social worker. Excellent. You need to understand the social workers and master’s degrees in Philadelphia and New York still only makes $45,000 and the cost of living doesn’t match so you didn’t just set up who you are now, to be able to operate and live and operate in that career choice because it is not a high yield income field. And they won’t be.

Harrington

Can I add a couple things before we go ahead. I mean, I think that’s absolutely right. Right, we’re more likely to be in these fields. And even to be a teacher, you got to get a Masters out trying to be a teacher to still make a salary that doesn’t enable you to pay back your loans, right. And we meet teachers, we need social workers, and we need more black teachers, and we need more black social workers. But if now people are going to get scared off eventually, because they don’t think they can pay back our loan, or you’re a teacher, but you can’t even live in your school district because you can’t buy a house. They wonder, what are we doing, we have a problem. In public service, loan forgiveness, there’s all these Income Based Repayment programs. Very few people I’ve got actually gotten forgiveness on income based repayment, only 32 people have got Income Based Repayment forgiveness, the percentages for Public Service Loan Forgiveness are also low, right. So these things are not guaranteed. They require all this paperwork and bureaucracy. And it’s not a it’s not a given all these things are also things that people have to navigate. But I wanted to mention one thing on the on the multi generational loans, right? Parent PLUS loans, right? You know, you got people if when you’re when low income students when people are trying to go to school, and you have to make up that gap, because the way we’re calculating expected family contribution is as you still have me this much money, but you can’t even do this, all you get, then parents are having they got Parent PLUS loans to make up that gap. And so and you have situations where they haven’t take out Parent PLUS loans for their kids, while they’re still paying back their loans to, and this is, and this is just continue the cycle. So if I’m in school, and my mom, so came back for a load, and now I have loans, and so my mind, then then when I get ready to go to school, when I get ready to have kids, and they get ready to go to school, and I’ve never been able to build wealth, then we’re just this is just a cycle. So I’m going to take out loans again for them, because I don’t have the Home Equity, I don’t have all that stuff. So it just is a never ending cycle. And we got to stop somewhere. 

Tate

And I believe it’s these conversations in these relationships and partnership building. In naming it, you know, I would be remiss that having just, I can’t say come through a pandemic, but having experienced it of that first year, and in the wake of George Floyd and the climate and where we’re at today. And in these partnerships with HBCUs. And there’s some pause moments, you know, Ashley, what you share just now, I was just thinking through, it just continues to perpetuate, right. And again, I often lean into is, it’s a system that’s broken, but it’s systemic, because it’s by design, right. And that’s why it won’t it’s not, it’s broken, but it’s working for someone. And so this opportunity also afforded says 40 acres and a degree, to name it, to call it what it is to interrupt it. But it’s going to take all of these voices and all of these relationships. And we honor the students and alumni in the faculty that are accessing our services. Because while it is about looking forward and setting financial goals, and helping to guide individuals through a system that is not friendly and are kind, it is also about the data. And Ashley, I know you know that all of us on this call know data is what moves if I can’t see it, it didn’t happen. And so I want to at least for a moment, take time to, to kind of bring it all home in regards to the work that we’re doing, in tandem with with all of you that have joined us today is that it is because of our platform, and our staff system that we provide to organizations and financial coaches across the nation, that we’re able to collect effective data that we’re able to share with other organizations like CRL, put our names on on sign the sheets and the legislation on what those new things are that we’re chasing and looking for it, it’s because of the students that were engaged with. And the fact that we’re naming it, and we’re calling it what it is that these students are getting to the place of being in a position of advocacy for themselves. And so it’s really important this the relationships that we’re building in the work that we’re doing on these, these college campuses. Because as gleann interact with each one, we are able to collect effective data, we are able to tell honest narratives, not from the top down, but from the ground up. And so I just applaud the work that you all do. I applaud you June for wanting to go back and get it and we’re gonna get you through this repayment plan and get you to where you can obtain that education that you were further seeking. Because it’s not a dark day because you know why the light is shining on it. And it is bright, and it’s because of all of this work that we’re going to be able to enact some change. And I want to leave a few moments for any closing arguments that either of you may have or anything else you want to share about the work that you’re doing.

Dr. Lewis

I think for us, it is just crucial that I express that is important, particularly for my colleagues. So there are colleagues at other institutions who are not well versed and oftentimes will shy away from the things that they don’t themselves, I understand. And so I would never be able to sit down and tell somebody exactly how to fly through the financial coaching, because it’s not my personal strength. But I understand that given that fact that my background is in a place of perceived privilege. And I still need that support that is ever important for us to create these partnerships to give our students of things that may be foreign to us, or may feel uncomfortable. And so I just encourage folks to really consider what are the partnerships with Change Machine with organizations like the Change Machine, and to be able to offer those to their students and to push the envelope even if they don’t themselves have not had the experience directly. Because us shying away from what is unfamiliar, does a disservice to the students that we are supposed to be serving. 

Harrington

And I’ll just say, you know, join us in this push for cancellation. Call, tweet, email your elected officials and tell them you want cancellation. We are asking for it by executive action. So tweet at Joe Biden tweet as the vice president tweet at everyone tweet at Secretary Cardona Department of Education. But we as your senators and Congress, folks, too, because there is a resolution right now to call on President Biden to cancel that $50,000 per borrower. There are cities passing resolutions, state governments passing resolutions, there are agencies coming up before this, we need everyone talking about the need for cancellation, and the need for broad based cancellation as a racial equity issue as an economic stimulus because this absolutely will put money back into the economy if we if we do this cancellation. And so we just need people in this fight. I think we are we are close. We are much we are come so far. Over the past few years in the in this debate, but I’m $50,000 will camp Lynette for over 75% of people in the federal student loan program, it will be a game changer for a lot of folks who have just been trying to live their life. So join us in that bite. 

Tate

Thank you so much, Ashley. And I want to thank all the attendees and everybody who joined us in this conversation. And if you want more information we are going to provide you with Ashley has some great slides. So we’ll be able to send them out post this and then all of our information in order to reach myself and or Dr. Lewis, if you have some additional questions, and you will be seeing June again, we’re gonna follow her journey through this. And before you know it, she’ll be out there leading the pack of students and alumni and bedding and helping us to secure brighter futures for all we think you guys thank you and CRC. And thank you attendees.

Tate

Greetings Hello, hello. Hello.

Hairston

Hello, everyone.

Dr. Lewis

Good afternoon.

Tate

I’m excited. I’m so excited to answer questions you all may have. We see a couple of comments in the chat. I see somebody reached out to Dr. Lewis directly wants to make sure they can get a copy of this session. And so we thank you guys for your participation and your attendance. And we’re here for it. Do you have some questions for us? We’re ready to fire. Unfortunately, Ashley is not able to meet with us today. But I have my laptop handy. And she’s on standby. So if you guys have questions directly for her, I’m going to send them over to her.

Tate

So I do see there was a question that said, um, somebody is graduating in a week and they’re curious about how they’re going to address their some debt. I think June may have some experience with this. Maybe June Can you share with us some of the planning you did or did not do when you were graduating and what you would recommend to a student who’s thinking for Read in regards to six months from now.

Hairston

Yeah, absolutely. Sorry. Um, you hear me now? Okay, I’m here. Yeah. So I was one of those people who didn’t plan for my student loan payments, I just kind of just, you know, kind of went with the flow of what was to come. But I do encourage you to definitely get in contact with your student loan servicer. And make sure that you’re having a concrete plan and understanding of what it is that you’re going to need, you know, to pay what the terms are, you know, what your work situation employment situation is going to be like, just stay in constant contact with them and update them on what you’re doing, what you can afford. Just be communication, communication. And if you are able to make sure you put money aside, like save money, and have a budget on and make sure you’re working the student loan payment, or what your payments going to be into that budget. So you don’t have to worry about default or you know, those scary, big scary words like that. But yeah, that’s my advice.

Tate

Thank you, Jun, for sharing that. I don’t know if I may be having a couple of technical difficulties. So if I’m over speaking somebody, let me know. But thank you so much for sharing not only your personal experience in regards to that. And with all of what Jim shared, keep in mind that these campuses that we’re working with ecsu, especially as we just had some graduations happen, right? Like we’re in May, and our coaches are available to talk through those plans for you and with you to help you navigate those services and talk about what does a repayment plan look like? Is $5 really gonna get it? It’s not because Ashley just told us about that interest and that amortization and so, you know, access is available, and please access it and share it within your network. I see in the box.

Tate

Let me see you guys. I’m trying to read fast, fast, fast, fast. It looks like we got a couple of amens and oh, yeses. In regards to Dr. Lewis, some things you were sharing as it relates to the uncas Freddie’s accesses, I would get a chance to really talk about and I wonder if that community attendees, I’m sure are interested in is the impact of retention.

Dr. Lewis

If students are getting to door to personal finances in their long term goals, what does that look like for retention, and students graduating on time? Thank you. So retention is not as important obviously, for the student as they’re going through their own commitment and their gold of completion. But for each institution, that’s one of the ways that we’re able to look at our potential default rate and default default patterns amongst our students. So if we’re able to maintain and increase, maintain retention and increase that retention, then obviously we’re able to as an institution qualify for more it impacts our loan default rates. A lot of people don’t know that the default rate kind of goes in, there’s a lag. So if there’s a period of three years, that then maybe two years later is what you’re kind of held accountable for. So for in terms of that the institution, definitely, I’ll work through that. I’m glad that, you know, obviously talked about the opportunity that change machine offers in terms of supporting those recent graduates and for us not to be not to lean on our own understanding of how to get ready in that six month window. June is absolutely right, as well. And each one of you all and your institution, students certainly understand the financial aid counselor when they’re looking for money upfront. But there’s a whole entity in most universities that were a default manager that helps you to plan and process that immediately leading up to graduation and immediately after. So retention is one of the ways that we look at what is our potential

fund funding for the future. But also in terms of what we need to do from one of my other areas of in my portfolio is career development. And so we’re where we need to be focused on For those students who are here who are coming, who are coming back, and what are those degrees that they expect to obtain, so that we can make sure we’re partnering with employers, also that they are on the ready and that we’re following their recruitment and talent acquisition cycles. So it upon graduation, those students can be gainfully employed and better prepared for that debt management that loan repayment moving forward.

Dr. Lewis

Bridgit, I know you may be on a lag. There’s another question that is in our laughing it’d be great for you to talk through maybe there’s a question around what’s the best repayment option for retirees who have student Parent PLUS loans. So that might be something that you can talk through for folks.

Tate
Wouldn’t be remote session if my computer wasn’t doing what it’s doing. Welcome to our new reality.

Yes, I do see that question. And I’d love to be able to answer that. I got a few minutes. But I what I want to talk about is if you’re a retiree, that needs to be a whole nother question you have with the servicer? What is the affordability of the reality? Have you been able to really pay off that debt? We’re seeing this more and more, as we talked about recorded session about gyrations and trying to obtain education, and what the cost is looking like.

…ever to get the student loan people to stop calling her because she’s not paying it back. It’s not happening. Um, but we had to have a conversation. And it was because of my background that I was able to navigate that conversation. So Miss Abdullah, please reach out to us directly. And I’m happy to connect you with one of my coaches to help you navigate that conversation. Sure.

Tate
Any additional questions we see in here? Well, we thank all of you for attending the session, we look forward to continuing this conversation with the partners that we’re working with. But equally as important was really say a sincere thank you for to NCRC for seeing the value and having this whole for having the understanding the value of having this discussion. And as we all know, NCRC stands in the policy space. And they assist communities on a national level and moving policy. And so we’re not here by a while the question is, what our engagement and where he changed. And so we look towards all of you that have intended this session, to ask the questions to get involved. We will be sending links post this so that we’re able to share with you all of the communications that Ashley shared, she said reach out to by them. She said reach out to your local legislation. So we are all part of the solution. I don’t know collation of debt. Sounds pretty good to me, what say you, Dr. Lewis.

Dr. Lewis
Well, as I said earlier, the fact that I’m still paying off an MBA loan and I am four years passed, my doctor would be excellent for me. So yes. And for our students that we serve, there is nothing. You know, there are these unique floating philanthropists who can drop a billion dollars or $15 million on on an institution, but a policy shift that included debt cancellation last fall in love a lot longer and certainly is the gift that keeps on giving.

Tate
Dr. Lewis, we said a mouthful right there. That’s it. So it’s not about that that one day and that one, that one? location. It’s about how can we do this in an equitable way. And we’re going to continue this conversation and sharing as we’ve all shared, the impact in the black community in communities of color is to some detriment in regards to our social on financial mobility. And so as we talk about cancellation, we also want to explore what is rest reparations look like in regards to student loan debt cancellation so that this can be equitable. And we can begin to run a race that is equal and tried to build our own social and financial mobility, I think, to lean it looks like we lost June along the way. But we thank you, Dr. Lewis, thank you for all of the support, you continue to give change machine and I look forward to continuing to working with you and your students.

Dr. Lewis
Thank you for leading in this platform and in this space. Thank you so much for NCRC for this opportunity. Thank you. Thank you, attendees. Bye

 

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Redlining and Neighborhood Health

Before the pandemic devastated minority communities, banks and government officials starved them of capital.

Lower-income and minority neighborhoods that were intentionally cut off from lending and investment decades ago today suffer not only from reduced wealth and greater poverty, but from lower life expectancy and higher prevalence of chronic diseases that are risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19, a new study shows.

The new study, from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) with researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, compared 1930’s maps of government-sanctioned lending discrimination zones with current census and public health data.

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Redlining, the HOLC Maps and Segregation
  • Segregation, Public Health and COVID-19
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
  • Citations
  • Appendix

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