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Experian and Center for Financial Advancement Launch HBCU Financial Literacy Program

The CFA Credit Academy will train student credit ambassadors to promote credit health and knowledge




ATLANTA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Almost half of all college students say money management is a bigger challenge than any other they may face, according to the U.S. Department of Education. To empower students as they embark on their higher education journeys, leading information services company Experian and HomeFree-USA’s Center for Financial Advancement® (CFA) have launched the CFA Credit Academy. More than 250 scholars from 14 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) will learn and train to share financial literacy, credit education and leadership basics.

“@Experian is a committed innovative partner…The CFA Credit Academy provides the training, tools, coaching and mentoring in a clear relevant manner that will enable the scholars to achieve their personal goals” – @HomeFreeUSA Gwen Garnett

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“Experian is a committed innovative partner. Understanding and mastering credit is of significant importance to the CFA Scholars. The CFA Credit Academy provides the training, tools, coaching and mentoring in a clear relevant manner that will enable the scholars to achieve their personal goals,” said Gwen Garnett, HomeFree-USA Center for Financial Advancement® Executive Director.

The HomeFree-USA 2022 Money4Life Leadership Conference kicked off CFA’s eight month program and included an orientation of the credit education program with Experian’s credit education experts. Students will gain an understanding of credit and its importance, so they can become knowledge ambassadors for their peers, family and their communities. In addition to live sessions and self-paced content, the CFA Credit Academy culminates with a hackathon competition in April, challenging all students to form teams of four at participating HBCUs to build the next best credit education program for their peers. The winning team will earn a $40,000 scholarship, sponsored by Experian.

“This program normalizes and modernizes the conversation about credit and overall financial health. Through our partnership with the CFA, we want to ensure these students are visible within the credit ecosystem for more equitable lending when they’re ready. Access to fair and affordable credit can help them, and all consumers, get a college degree, buy a car or a home, start a business, and ultimately build wealth and achieve greater financial success,” said Raudy Perez, Experian North America’s senior director for diversity, equity and inclusion partnerships.


Experian research shows there are 28 million US consumers who are unable to participate in the mainstream financial ecosystem today because they don’t have a financial identity. Credit invisibility more frequently impacts underserved communities with 26% of Hispanic consumers and 28% of Black consumers unscoreable or invisible compared to 16% of White and Asian consumers. That can make homeownership, the greatest driver of generational wealth, an even bigger challenge for underserved communities.

As part of its mission of financial inclusion and empowerment for all, Experian partners with HomeFree-USA to provide continuing education for its housing counselors and resources for their clients. The company created the Home Preservation Grant, which supported homeowners at risk of losing their homes due to COVID-related hardships with credit education and mortgage relief. Inclusion Forward – Experian Empowering Opportunities™ harnesses Experian’s data, analytics and technology to help clients provide more affordable credit access to diverse communities. The Mortgage Bankers Association recently honored Experian with its 2022 DEI Leadership Award. To learn more about Experian’s work in diverse communities: visit

About HomeFree-USA

HomeFree-USA is a nonprofit started by Marcia and Jim Griffin in 1994 with a vision to close the homeownership gap. The organization gives African Americans the guidance they need to achieve and sustain homeownership, and bridges the gap between financial strength and homeownership for people of color across America.

As a HUD-intermediary, HomeFree-USA serves the diverse interests of 6.3 million consumers through its nationwide network of over 50 affiliated community-based nonprofits that specialize in guiding people to first-time homeownership, sustainability and increased financial capacity.


For more information visit:

About Experian

Experian is the world’s leading global information services company. During life’s big moments – from buying a home or a car, to sending a child to college, to growing a business by connecting with new customers – we empower consumers and our clients to manage their data with confidence. We help individuals to take financial control and access financial services, businesses to make smarter decisions and thrive, lenders to lend more responsibly, and organizations to prevent identity fraud and crime.

We have 21,700 people operating across 30 countries and every day we’re investing in new technologies, talented people, and innovation to help all our clients maximize every opportunity. We are listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and are a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.

Learn more at or visit our global content hub at our global news blog for the latest news and insights from the Group.



Matt Zaske, HomeFree-USA

Victoria Lim, Experian

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Student loan forgiveness could fall through for 30 million borrowers. If it does, consider these 4 relief options




After President Joe Biden’s historic announcement that tens of millions of Americans would get up to $20,000 in student loan forgiveness, borrowers’ celebrations were short-lived.

Conservative groups and Republicans soon brought a number of legal challenges against the president’s plan, arguing that the policy was unfair and an overreach of executive authority. Two of those lawsuits have been successful in halting the Biden administration from canceling hundreds of billions of dollars in student debt. In February, the U.S. Supreme Court will have the final say on if the plan can proceed or not.

The disappointment and financial distress that borrowers will feel if Biden’s forgiveness plan is struck down — a likely outcome, according to experts — is likely to be massive.

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A group of borrower advocacy groups, in a recent brief to the highest court, said student debt forgiveness was essential to the country’s recovery from the public health crisis, which exacerbated the financial difficulties for “borrowers who have, for decades, been at the mercy of a broken student loan system.” Without the cancellation, they warned, “working and middle-class borrowers are at substantial risk of default.”


If that is the way things go, however, here are four of the other relief options for struggling borrowers.

1. Defer payments (once they resume)

The pandemic-era policy suspending federal student loan payments and the accrual of interest is still active. The U.S. Department of Education has said borrowers won’t need to start making payments on their debt again until 60 days after the litigation around its forgiveness plan resolves.

If the lawsuits are still pending at the end of June, the bills will resume 60 days after that, at the end of August.

If you’re unemployed or dealing with another financial hardship at that time, you can put in a request for an economic hardship or unemployment deferment. Those are the ideal ways to postpone your federal student loan payments, because interest doesn’t accrue.

If you don’t qualify for either, though, you can use a forbearance to continue suspending your bills. Just keep in mind that with forbearance, interest will rack up and your balance will be larger — possibly much larger — when you resume paying.


2. Use the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program

The Biden administration has recently made a number of improvements to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which allows those who work for the government and certain nonprofits to get their debt cleared after a decade of payments.

There are typically three primary requirements for public service loan forgiveness, although the recent changes provide some more wiggle room in certain cases:

  1. Your employer must be a government organization at any level, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization or some other type of not-for-profit organization that provides public service.
  2. Your loans must be federal Direct loans.
  3. To reach forgiveness, you need to have made 120 qualifying, on-time payments in an income-driven repayment plan or the standard repayment plan.

The best way to find out if your job qualifies as public service is to fill out the so-called employer certification form.

In 2013, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimated that 1 in 4 American workers could be eligible for the program.

3. Find a more affordable repayment plan

If you find your student loan payments too high when the bills resume, you should explore the different income-driven repayment plans. These programs aim to make borrowers’ payments more affordable by capping their monthly bills at a percentage of their discretionary income and forgiving any of their remaining debt after 20 or 25 years.

To determine how much your monthly bill would be under different plans, use one of the calculators at or, said Betsy Mayotte, president of The Institute of Student Loan Advisors, a nonprofit.

President Biden: 22 million people have signed on for student debt relief

If you do decide to change your repayment plan, Mayotte recommends submitting that application to your servicer well ahead of the timeline for payments to restart. Lenders will likely be overwhelmed when they have to begin collecting loan payments from tens of millions of people again.

“I have significant concerns that there will be some big servicing delays,” Mayotte said.

4. File for bankruptcy protection

The Biden administration recently announced updated guidelines that will make it easier for those severely burdened by their student debt to discharge it in bankruptcy.

Currently, it’s difficult, if not impossible, for someone to walk away from their federal student debt in a normal bankruptcy proceeding.

“The new rules do give some hope to federal loan borrowers who may be struggling with their loans for 10 years or more,” Mayotte said.

The federal government will be less likely to object to borrowers’ attempts at discharging their debt, she said, if they have a record of making an effort to repay their student loans but don’t have a high enough income to cover the bill while also meeting their basic needs.

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Durant’s Donation Will Support Athletic Facility Upgrades and University Athletics Programs




MEDIA CONTACT: David Thompson,, 301-860-4311

(BOWIE, Md.) – Prince George’s County native Kevin Durant and the Durant Family Foundation have committed to joining the Bowie State University Athletics Department in the transformation of the university’s main basketball gym and supporting BSU athletics programs.


“We are dedicated to providing resources and possibilities to students for higher education, especially in Prince George’s County,” said Wanda Durant, who leads the Durant Family Foundation. “Bowie State was the perfect place to make a meaningful impact.”

The foundation has committed $500,000 towards renovations of the basketball arena in the Leonidas S. James Physical Education Complex at BSU. Renovations will include installation of a new basketball court, expansion of seating capacity and upgrades to the press box area. The gift will also provide financial support for men’s and women’s basketball and university athletics programs. It also will establish a scholarship for Durant Center College Track students who attend BSU.


Bowie State President Aminta Breaux expressed her gratitude for Durant’s generosity.

“We’re grateful for the resources that Kevin Durant and his family foundation have generously donated to Bowie State University to advance student success in achieving their academic goals,” said Breaux. “His contributions will go a long way towards updating our facilities and ensure a top-tier athletic experience for all of our students. The foundation has already built a network of community-centric services within the Durant Center in Prince George’s County that is exemplary.”

Durant’s donation to Bowie State is just the latest in the Seat Pleasant native’s philanthropic efforts in Prince George’s County. In 2019, Durant’s foundation partnered with College Track to establish College Track at the Durant Center in Suitland, MD, to help first-generation and low-income students pursue higher education.


About Bowie State University
Bowie State University (BSU) is an important higher education access portal for qualified persons from diverse academic and socioeconomic backgrounds, seeking a high-quality and affordable public comprehensive university. The university places special emphasis on the science, technology, cybersecurity, teacher education, business and nursing disciplines within the context of a liberal arts education. For more information about BSU, visit


About the Durant Family Foundation
The Durant Family Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 2013 by Prince George’s County native Kevin Durant. The foundation’s mission is to enrich the lives of at-risk youth from low-income backgrounds through educational, athletic and social programs. The foundation supports youth athletics, organizations addressing youth homelessness, disaster & emergency relief efforts, renovates basketball courts across the world, and provides educational opportunities for low-income and first generation college students via our partnership with College Track. As of 2019, the Durant Center, based in Prince George’s County, has been the home for Durant Family Foundation charitable programs and community initiatives.

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Morgan State University Launches $30M Renovation of Two Campus Dorms





Morgan State University is launching a renovation of two student residence halls as part of a long-term effort to expand and improve student housing in the wake of a massive enrollment spike at the historically Black university.

Morgan State will spend $30 million on a complete renovation of its Baldwin and Cummings residential halls, transforming them from 1950s-era facilities into more modern living spaces for around 200 students.

“These are post-World War II facilities,” said Sidney Evans, Jr., executive vice president for finance and administration at the school. “They are just not conducive for the 21st century.”

The traditional stone facade of the two residence halls will remain in place while the insides will be gutted, he said. During the renovations of Baldwin and Cummings next year, the students who would normally be in the dorms will be placed in three apartment buildings that Morgan State leases,Evans said. Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. won a $1.5 million contract for pre-construction services for the project at the state Board of Public Works meeting on Wednesday.

Morgan State took out a $65 million loan with the federal HBCU Capital Financing Program to pay for the dorm renovations along with several other campus improvements. The loan will help Morgan State complete the renovation of the Murphy Fine Arts Center, the Hurt Gymnasium and other deferred campus maintenance. The program provides a low-interest-rate loan that is approved by the federal government. The institution previously used the loan to finance the public safety building at Northwood Commons, Evans said.


“It’s the most cost-efficient way for HBCUs to borrow,” he added. “When I first presented this to the Morgan Board of Regents, [Board of Public Works], and the capital vulnerability committee they were so impressed with this program, they said, ‘why hasn’t Morgan done this before?’”

In recent years, the university has taken several steps to build more housing in response to a massive influx of students. Earlier this year, the HBCU completed the Thurgood Marshall Housing complex and is now constructing a 604-bed tower addition. Thurgood Marshall was the first new on-campus student housing built in 31 years at Morgan State, Evans said.

Along with the renovations to Baldwin and Cummings, the university is planning to renovate another older student dorm in 2024 and tear down the aging O’Connell Hall student housing dorm to build a new residential facility, Evans said.

The university currently has a total enrollment of over 9,100 students, a new record, with only 2,119 beds on campus, according to a Morgan State spokesperson. The university signed a partnership last year with the Lord Baltimore Hotel downtown to house an additional 440 students because of the lack of on-campus housing options. The Board of Public Works in November approved a $1.7 million extension of Morgan State’s lease with the hotel to provide 248 beds for students until next May.

“Our enrollment projections exceeded our expectations,” Evans said. “So we’re trying to bring things back in line.”



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