Financial Literacy Institute to Open at NJCU

Financial Literacy Institute to Open at NJCU

The NJCU School of Business and the New Jersey Council for Economic Education are partnering to lay the groundwork for a financial literacy institute, with the ultimate goal of helping the state’s residents achieve lifelong financial health.

The mission of the Institute for Financial Literacy and Economic Education at NJCU (IFLEE) is to improve the financial literacy skills among communities throughout the state by conducting research, providing public services and programs, and hosting courses, seminars, and workshops that will provide the tools needed to make informed financial decisions.

“There is no shortage of troubling statistics when it comes to documenting people’s lack of understanding of their personal finances,” said Joseph DiFiglia, Co-Founder and Director of IFLEE, which is scheduled to open during the 2018-2019 academic year. “Young people are increasingly challenged by the financial burdens of credit card and student loan debt, while many of us approaching retirement age are realizing that we are financially unprepared.”

DiFiglia, an economist and Adjunct Professor with the Department of Finance at the School of Business, is also Chairman and Executive Director for the state Council for Economic Education. He is working with Dr. Bernard McSherry, Founding Dean of the NJCU School of Business, and J.D. Jayaraman, School of Business Associate Professor of Finance, to set up the institute.

Said McSherry, “The NJCU School of Business is a statewide leader in business education. Our new Institute will serve all of New Jersey’s citizens by addressing a glaring deficiency within the current educational environment, and helping individuals to understand and take control of their personal finances.”

“Financial literacy levels around the world have reached a crisis point and the United States, in particular, suffers from dire levels of financial illiteracy,” said Jayaraman.

Within the Jersey City community alone, according to Jayaraman, “Jersey City has about 30-percent Hispanic and 30-percent African American populations – two ethnicities associated with the lowest level of financial literacy, and about 39 percent of Jersey City’s population is foreign born – another demographic in dire need of financial literacy services.”

By leveraging its partnership with the state Council for Economic Education, IFLEE will offer professional development opportunities to New Jersey K-12 teachers and pre-certified student teachers through the NJCU Deborah Cannon Partridge Wolfe College of Education.

“The College of Education relishes this opportunity to fully prepare current and future teachers with the tools they will need to promote and ensure financial literacy for the state’s residents,” said Dr. Deborah Woo, Interim Dean of the College of Education and the College of Professional Studies.

The Institute will also expand its community-based financial education programs through its statewide network of nonprofit partners.

“We really want to help people get on a path to be on stronger footing, financially,” DiFiglia said.