NCAA student-athletes now have an online financial awareness platform that provides them with tips on how to be more fiscally responsible while in college, while also preparing them for financial decisions that may impact them after graduation.
The platform will provide more than 450,000 NCAA student-athletes with access to video-based interactive modules that will give them instructions for money and personal business management. The nine modules have information on budgeting; saving; the different types of banking institutions; short- and long-term expenses and income; credit scores and how to avoid debt; taxes; investment portfolios and risks; lending, borrowing and interest rates; and various types of insurance. Former NCAA student-athletes present the video messaging, with each module running around three to five minutes in length.
The push for financial education originated with a discussion in the Division 1 Student-Athlete Advisory Committee following a decision in 2015 that allowed Division 1 schools to provide full cost of attendance scholarships for their athletes. The scholarships provide additional funds to pay for things such as travel and other expenses. The SAAC discussion centered on developing a tool that athletes could utilize to help education them on financial topics and pitfalls they might experience in getting the additional funds, as well as possible financial dangers after they graduate.
"As student leaders, our goal has always been to use our voice and our experience to create a better life for the student-athletes in college now and those who will come after us.," said Kendall Spencer, former chair of Division 1 SAAC. "Financial literacy is an answer to what might have been a problem in offering student-athletes full cost of attendance scholarships. By giving fellow student-athletes the tools necessary to understand their finances, we are giving them something we all would ask for, while also empowering them to make wise decisions beyond graduation."
The NCAA leadership development and Division 1 governance staffs collaborated with SAAC and researched what programs were available that would provide NCAA student-athletes with easy online access at any time and from any geographical location. Last year, the NCAA selected iGrad, a company that creates online financial literacy platforms for schools and organizations, for the service agreement. The agreement will continue through the spring of 2018 with an option to renew.
"We're proud to partner with the NCAA to provide financial wellness education to the 450,000-plus college student-athletes, " said Kris Alban, executive vice president for iGrad. "Understanding the fundamentals of personal finance is critical to an individual's success during and after college. We are fortunate that we have the ability to empower these young adults to make smart financial decisions before they transition out of college and into the real world."
"Providing financial education online allows all student-athletes the opportunity to get a better understanding of how to maneuver through some financial areas that might impact them now as well as some areas that might impact them in the future," said Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president for Division 1 governance. "iGrad was already working with some schools and had a good platform in place for this type of education. We hope athletics administrators will encourage student-athletes to view the online modules regularly so they are informed and prepared to make key decisions in the future."
The leadership development group will oversee the financial literacy programming and work with SAAC and other staff to determine what modules might be added in the future.