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U.S. Education Department and Social Security Administration Award Four Grants to Improve Retirement Security within Minority Low-Income Communities

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The U.S. Department of Education and the Social Security Administration today announced the award of $466,603 to four Minority-Serving Institutions to conduct research in the areas of retirement security, financial literacy, and financial decision-making within minority and low-income communities.

The purpose of the program is twofold: to provide opportunities for graduate students at institutions with high proportions of minority and low income students to conduct rigorous research in these needed fields; and to address the financial literacy and retirement planning needs within minority and low-income communities.

"Smart money management and sound financial planning are critical to our well-being as individuals and as a nation," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "These grants will help improve strategies to provide greater retirement security for minority and low-income communities."

"Social Security recognizes the importance of retirement planning and is committed to researching ways to strengthen financial literacy across the country," said Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security. "Through these grants, we plan to improve our understanding of how to best educate individuals in minority and low-income communities and prepare them for a more secure financial future."

Grantees will use their funds to provide stipends to graduate students in various social science disciplines who will be conducting the research as part of their studies. The body of work developed by the students will be used in a variety of ways to help the public, ranging from partnerships with organizations that provide outreach to the community, presentations at conferences, and development of financial decision-making tools that educate the public and facilitate change.

The grants announced today are being awarded under the Minorities and Retirement Security Program, a new pilot discretionary program funded by the Social Security Administration. The Education Department identified institutions with post-baccalaureate pre-doctoral research programs that could conduct the research and will administer the new grant program. Both agencies are members of the federal government's Financial Literacy and Education Commission.

Current grantees in these four federal programs were eligible to apply for the grants:

Master's Degree Program at Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Strengthening Historically Black Graduate Institutions
Master's Degree Program at Predominantly Black Graduate Institutions
Promoting Postsecondary Opportunities for Hispanic Americans
Note to Editors:

List of grantees, with first year award amount and contact information is below:

Florida

Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, $115,249
Dr. Shawnta Friday-Stroud, (850) 561-3565

Illinois

Chicago State University, $113,206
Dr. Aref Hervani, (773) 995-3827

Texas

University of Houston-Downtown, $120,000
Dr. Sarah Singletary Walker, (713) 223-7953

Virginia

Hampton University, $118,148
Dr. Ziette Hayes (757) 727-5166


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