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Undergraduate Program Launches Financial Literacy Program

Last semester, seven undergraduate students launched a chapter of First Generation Investors (FGI) at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business to educate nine local high school students on financial literacy. The program has expanded since then, with 19 undergraduate mentors and nearly 40 high school students.

First Generation Investors is a nonprofit organization that teaches high school students in underserved communities the power of investing, while also providing them hands-on experience. Volunteers from different colleges deliver interactive lessons about investing and help high school students choose their investments using real funds provided by donors. 

Georgetown McDonough joins more than 25 campuses across the country in this mission, including Columbia University, Harvard University, Morehouse College, and University of Pennsylvania.

Student mentors seek to help bridge this wealth disparity after undergoing an extensive onboarding process. Elizabeth Wheeler (C’23), board member of the Georgetown FGI chapter, spoke to the invaluable financial literacy students learn. 

“The financial literacy skills students learn will change the way they approach personal finance throughout their lives,” said Wheeler. “They begin with the foundations of saving and investing, and move on to understand the fundamental power of compounding by watching their own money grow.” 

Data from the 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) show that long-standing and substantial wealth disparities between families in different racial and ethnic groups were little changed since the last survey in 2016. Wealthy households are six times more likely to invest in stocks, and typically earn eight times as much as savings accounts pay, according to the Federal Reserve. 

“FGI is a unique opportunity as it provides long-term and truly life changing benefits to students,” said Luke Crowley (B’23), board member, FGI. “Given the wealth inequality that exists in Washington D.C., it is a fantastic opportunity to not only teach high school students about investing, but provide them with the capital necessary to get started.”

Undergraduate Program