NCUA Promotes Financial Literacy Grants

Low-income CUs may apply for funds between April 18 and May 20.

April 14, 2011

NCUA Board Chairman Debbie Matz is encouraging low-income credit unions to apply for a new grant program known as the Financial Education and Financial Literacy Initiative.

Offered through the agency’s Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives, NCUA will distribute $200,000 in grants. Credit unions may submit grant applications from April 18 through May 20, 2011.

“In its latest survey, Project Jump$tart found that the financial literacy of high school students had fallen to new lows,” Matz said. “These grants will facilitate credit union efforts to ensure today’s teenagers develop the ability to make smart financial decisions.”

NCUA established this initiative to support low-income credit unions’ efforts to improve financial literacy in their communities, particularly among students. The grants also advance NCUA’s partnership with the U.S. Department of Education and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to encourage financial institutions to educate students about saving, budgeting, and making wise financial decisions.

The start of the Financial Education and Financial Literacy Initiative’s application process in April coincides with Financial Literacy Month. Funding for the grants comes from the NCUA Community Development Revolving Loan Fund’s Technical Assistance Grant Program.

Under the initiative, low-income-designated credit unions may apply for up to $5,000 to create, enhance, or expand financial education efforts.

Through the grants, NCUA will encourage low-income credit unions to collaborate with schools, community organizations, and other financial institutions to provide financial education within the communities they serve.

NCUA encourages credit unions to use the grants to support financial literacy projects aimed at students, but the funding received through the initiative may support other community financial education efforts.

Examples of projects and uses the agency hopes to fund through the initiative include:

  • Developing joint ventures with schools, teacher associations, and parent groups to provide in-school education about the importance of savings;
  • Providing financial education material aimed at students;
  • Adding or enhancing student- or youth-focused financial education modules on credit union websites;
  • Establishing partnerships with credit counseling organizations to offer credit repair training and help members improve their credit scores; and
  • Promoting affiliations with city and state housing agencies to provide first-time homebuyer counseling and foreclosure prevention counseling.

NCUA will announce the awards in late July.