Oct 12, 2023
In this episode, Diverse welcomes Dr. Mark Brown, the executive director of the Student Freedom Initiative (SFI). Brown joins podcast host David Pluviose in exploring the initiative’s mission and vision for addressing the enduring challenges posed by student debt and the wealth gap in America.
Brown sheds light on the genesis of SFI at Morehouse College, initiated by philanthropist Robert F. Smith, and how it has expanded to benefit not only historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) but tribal colleges. SFI is a modern funding, transformative educational program designed to address common economic challenges and enhance information technology infrastructure. The initiative seeks to ensure perpetual support for participating schools to bridge wealth gaps and diversify talent pipelines. It offers innovative income-contingent agreements for STEM students that enable flexible income-based repayments. SFI further invests in students through grants for non-tuition-related emergencies and financial management courses.
Discover how SFI is pioneering this innovative approach to education financing with partnerships and an aim toward a groundbreaking endowment without walls. Tune into the conversation between Brown and Pluviose as they underscore the importance of expanding the initiative's reach and invite others to join in the journey.
- Understanding SFI's vision to bridge the wealth gap through education
- Empowering students with alternatives such as income-contingent agreements and parent-plus loans
- Financial literacy for college students, parents, and underrepresented groups
- HBCU partnerships that create job opportunities and certifications
- The ultimate goal, achieving a $500 million endowment without walls by 2028
- Why join the movement for economic empowerment
"Our focus of all those things, and where they weave together, is the wealth gap in America through the lens of education." – Dr. Mark Brown
“By the year 2028, we need a $500 million endowment without walls for all of our participating schools. It needs to be unique in this way. Some of the resources that are in that $500 million are philanthropic for sure.” – Dr. Mark Brown
Student Freedom Initiative Partners with New Investment Fund to Raise the Capital of HBCUs. The historic fund launches a $10.35M growth fund for participating HBCUs.
Check out the Student Freedom Initiative website, here.
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