CLU to Create a Free Online Financial Literacy Center for Low Income and Disadvantaged Women

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The CFP Board of Standards awards a Grant to CLU's California Institute of Finance (CIF) to fund a website that will provide financial education and literacy services to single mothers, widows, divorcees, ethnic minorities and other disadvantaged and low income women at all stages of life.

The California Lutheran University's (CLU) prestigious California Institute of Finance has received a $40,000 grant to start an online financial literacy center for all low-income and disadvantaged women.

The Certified Financial Planner Board grant, which was announced Aug. 1, will fund the first two years of the California Institute of Finance Information Center for Women starting with the fall semester.

The online center will provide financial planning services to women who typically don't work with an expert but could benefit greatly from the help. The target groups include single mothers, widows, ethnic minorities, divorcees and other low- to middle-income earners from all walks and stages in life.

Services will include personal budgeting, debt relief, children's education funding, and divorce and retirement planning. Most information will be supplied for free. More comprehensive individualized counseling will be available for a modest fee for women who can afford to pay. The collected fees will be fully used to sustain the operations.

About 180 students in CLU's MBA and financial planning programs will help develop the online center. Efforts are being made to make the program available to all students nationwide. The students will also provide answers to questions submitted online under the supervision of a faculty member who is a Certified Financial Planner Practitioner or a related field expert. This will enable students to gain practical experience and an understanding of the financial-planning problems faced by the target populations in a service-learning framework.

The Certified Financial Planner Board provides grants to sustainable projects that reach people who are traditionally not served by the profession. CLU's grant will cover the start-up costs for the online center. After two years, nominal fees charged for the more comprehensive services should cover operating costs. The University will donate faculty, staff and student time.

For more information, contact California Institute of Finance Director Somnath Basu, Ph.D., at (805) 493-3980 or basu @ callutheran.edu.

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Somnath Basu

Cindy Grether
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