Virginia resident creates financial literacy programs for HBCU students

The president of the Society for Financial Education and Professional Development, Inc., says teaching black students financial literacy is the answer to closing the racial wealth gap.

This is part of WTOP’s ongoing coverage of people making a difference in our community written by Stephanie Gaines-Bryant. Learn more about this coverage.

More African Americans are graduating from college than ever before, but the wealth gap between blacks and whites persists.

Ted Daniels, President and CEO of Alexandria, Va. Society for Financial Education and Professional DevelopmentInc., said the answer is to teach financial literacy to black students.

The organization, founded in 1998, provides financial literacy training to students at HBCUs, where many students are first-generation college students.

“We have the lowest credit ratings of any group. Our percentage of investments is lower. Our average 401(k) balance is lower,” Daniels said.

Daniels said his program teaches students how credit scores work, the components of a credit score, and how to manage a credit score. He said students learn about stocks and mutual funds and how to use them to build wealth.

Teaching financial literacy to black students is a mission for Ted Daniels. (Courtesy of The Society for Financial Education and Professional Development)

Daniels said in an interview with WTOP that financial literacy becomes an in-time tool for building wealth, creating contentment, and having options in your life. But, he said, “If you don’t know the tools and how these personal money management concepts work, you can’t maximize the income your degree generates.”

The organization also emphasizes teaching students about home ownership.

“Only 42.3% of us own a home,” Daniels said. The organization teaches students how to save for a down payment on a home and closing costs to build wealth for the next generation.

Daniels said they also offer a student ambassador program that teaches the program to students and, in turn, they teach it to their peers. He said he hopes the students will return to their communities and share their knowledge with family and loved ones.

He said students teach other students how to create budgets and manage credit card debt. The organization has ongoing training for its students, allowing them to incorporate new lessons into the curriculum, and it has a supervising teacher to ensure that the lessons are properly implemented.

He said students at schools like Howard University in Washington, DC and Morgan State University in Baltimore are encouraged to go out into the community at places like local churches to teach the program.

Daniels said he has relationships with more than 70 HBCUs across the country and there are 31 student ambassador programs that run at HBCUs year-round, but in a school, the program is different.

Daniels said, “When you leave Hampton University, you’ll know how to manage your money. Hampton’s program is different.

Hampton is located in the Tidewater area of ​​Virginia with a student population of approximately 3,500. Its new president, Darrell Williams, has decided, Daniels said, that everyone on campus — including faculty, administrative staff and students — will receive financial literacy training.

The course will be compulsory for new first-year students. “We want Hampton to be the model that exists on every campus.”

Daniels grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, and attended an HBCU, Fort Valley State University in Fort Valley, Georgia. He said he was recruited from Fort Valley State to work for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he said he helped set up financial management for 28 of his 31 years with him. the agency.

He received his law degree from John Marshall University Law School in Atlanta. When he took early retirement, he said he wanted to use his knowledge of finance to help the African-American community build generational wealth and founded the organization based in Alexandria, Virginia.

Geraldine L. Melton