The IFLEE’s mission and objectives are well aligned with the university strategic plan, Transforming Lives (New Jersey City University, 2013). The IFLEE’s efforts in improving financial literacy will transform the lives of students by helping them make informed financial decisions for a secure financial future. The NJCU strategic plan includes the following overarching goals: (1) Enhance Academic Excellence; (2) Achieve Student Success: Academic, Personal, and Social; (3) Enhance Resources and the University’s Capacity to Achieve Vision; and (4) Strengthen NJCU Identity, Brand, Reputation, and Connections with the Community.
The IFLEE’s efforts will have a positive impact on each of the strategic plan goals. Improved financial literacy will improve retention rates and hence contribute to student success. The IFLEE’s community outreach efforts will significantly elevate NJCU’s brand identity and reputation in the community and thus increase student enrollment.
The IFLEE will serve as the umbrella for several financial literacy initiatives already in place, as well as the catalyst for the creation of new services and programs. Under the leadership of the IFLEE, NJCU will take a three-pronged approach to addressing our growing needs for financial literacy; develop research projects and initiatives to identify and address the underlying issues of financial literacy, engage students in ongoing programming, and provide for the community’s needs through educational opportunities and services.
As an accredited University, NJCU has the capacity to support and develop researchers. The IFLEE would focus its research initiatives on identifying the root causes of lack of financial literacy in the local and broader communities, and then test efficacy of initiatives meant to improve financial literacy among young people and underserved populations.
Engage Students in Ongoing Programming
Student organizations provide a hands-on learning opportunity for students. Through their involvement, students can improve their own financial literacy, as well as build the business acumen required for a lifetime of financial well-being. These organizations will host and participate in events such as guest lectures, financial center and corporation tours, and state, national and international competitions.
* Student Investment Management Group (SIM Group)
The SIM Group is a team of students who invests and monitors a student-managed securities fund, with the assistance of faculty advisors. Its goal is to expose students to the workings of the investment world through active participation in the management of the SIMG portfolio. Such experience is geared towards the enhancement of student-members' understanding of capital markets in a more relaxed and educational settingThe Group was formed through the inspiration and generosity of Congressman Frank J. Guarini.
* Financial Management Association (FMA)
NJCU’s chapter of FMA International involves students in the professional organization’s activities. With more than 3,000 student members in 175+ active chapters, FMA bridges theory and practice by providing opportunities for professional interaction between academics, practitioners and students across the globe. In addition, FMA's Student Programs provide networking opportunities, career development resources and exclusive finance-related content.
Provide the Community with Educational Opportunities & Services
The following services will be offered free of charge to the students and the community. All services will be multilingual (Spanish, Hindi, Arabic and English) to cater to the diverse community in the Jersey City neighborhood and student body at NJCU.
* Community Financial Literacy Programs
Free personal finance workshops for the community will be conducted throughout the year. Programs will focus on key areas of financial planning - cash flow management, risk management, investment planning, retirement and estate planning, and tax planning.
* Financial Counseling Cell
The Institute will have a financial counselling cell where students and people from the surrounding community can come in for financial consultation. The service will be provided free of charge and will help people make better financial choices by working with them on a one-on-one basis. The counselling cell will be staffed by NJCU graduate students who are pursuing a master’s in financial planning.
* Peer-to-Peer workshops and Financial Literacy Support Groups
Financial literacy support groups for students with volunteer students, who will support and teach fellow students with peer-to-peer workshops. Another support group will be formed for the community, with volunteer citizens.
* K-12 Teacher Professional Development Workshops
In conjunction with partner, New Jersey Council for Economic Education, the Institute will conduct workshops for K-12 teachers to improve their financial literacy teaching skills.
* Faculty, Staff and Alumni Services
The Institute will develop and offer services to support faculty, staff and alumni financial literacy needs. Training will be provided to faculty and staff on how to handle financial difficulties that they may come to know of during their day to day interaction with students. Estate planning services will be provided to alumni to help them with charitable giving, including to NJCU.
* Financial Literacy Lecture Series
The Institute will invite prominent players involved in the improvement of personal finance and financial literacy, throughout the year, to speak to the community.
* Online Financial Literacy Portal
The Institute will develop a multilingual financial literacy portal replete with financial literacy resources for the community.
* Personal Finance Podcasts and Videos
The Institute will create multilingual multimedia content such as podcasts and videos on topics in personal finance and deliver it through the Financial Literacy web portal.
The IFLEE will work with the following partners:
* The New Jersey Council for Economic Education
* NJCU Division of Professional and Lifelong Learning
* Local Jersey City Community Organizations