Benedict College Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) Executive Summary

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Benedict College has identified financial literacy as the focus of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on College’s (SACSCOC) mandated Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). The institution believes that the topic of financial literacy is timely, relevant, and meaningful for our diverse student body and College community. Implications from the coronavirus left many African American students and their families in vulnerable financial positions, particularly those considered low wealth. The onset of the global pandemic revealed that many of our students lacked the financial resources to return home on short notice and learn remotely. Further, institutional data revealed a steady increase in students who “stop out” and their inability to repay loans. This, coupled with survey findings and student experiences, shed light on the fact that financial literacy among our student population is greatly needed.

The identified QEP topic of improving financial literacy is in direct alignment with the 5-year strategic plan, mission, and vision of Benedict College. The B.E.S.T. Plan for BC clearly articulates the bold transformation the institution has embarked upon since its implementation in 2018. It involves campus-wide enhancements to Academics, Athletics, Student Affairs, Information Technology (IT), Institutional Advancement, and Business & Finance. #TheBESTofBC tag resonates across disciplines, constituencies, and especially with our students who are on a journey to be transformed.

The Benedict College QEP, Living Your BEST Life: Financially Informed and Thriving (F.I.T.), is designed in response to the College’s substantive issue of a steadily increasing student loan default rates and the expressed need based on the perspectives of faculty, staff, alumni, and most importantly, students. Moreover, Benedict’s QEP topic amplifies SACSCOC priorities, specifically, substandard 12.6 in that there is a college-wide commitment to ensuring our student borrowers understand how to manage their debt and repay their loans.

As graduates, it is expected that Benedict alumni will be confident, culturally aware, professionally competent, financially literate, and ready to enter a global community. Thus, Benedict College’s QEP will implement a program that facilitates engagement and improves student learning through the Center for Financial Freedom and Hope. The Center’s goals are consistent with the institution’s greater mission of providing transformative learning experiences and high-quality programming that develop superior cultural and professional competencies for a diverse student body delivered by highly skilled faculty and staff. To fully execute the 5-year initiative, a total of $2.8 million in resources will be allocated towards the successful implementation of the QEP.

Finally, this uniquely tailored QEP provides a platform for Benedict College to share its voice in the larger financial literacy conversation about our role to help our community and the nation through the successful and transformative learning experiences of our diverse students.

The overall goal of the QEP: To transform students’ financial futures by intentionally developing their competency in money management, debt, and understanding of common financial operations.

The achievement of this goal will result in two specific and measurable behavioral learning outcomes:

Student Learning Outcome 1

Student Learning Outcome 2

Students will acquire less student loan debt throughout their matriculation.

Students will demonstrate knowledge of financial literacy skills.

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