Jan 17, 2023 - News

Fidelity pledges $250 million to support underrepresented students

Fidelity plans to commit $250 million toward helping more students of color graduate debt free. Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Financial services giant Fidelity pledged Tuesday spend $250 million over the next five years helping more underrepresented students get a college education without student debt — and the initiative will start in the Triangle, home to one of the company's largest offices.

  • The money will support 50,000 Black and Latino students through scholarships, mentoring and grants to nonprofits focused on helping underrepresented students.

Driving the news: The Triangle is one of three regions where Fidelity plans to pilot the program, along with Boston and Dallas.

  • Fidelity will fund 100 scholars in the Triangle starting this year and will add more in the following years.

Why it matters: Black and Latino students are less likely to graduate college within four years due in part to financial pressures that cause them to drop out or work during their school years.

Catch up quick: Fidelity employs more than 5,000 people in its Durham offices, which is home to one the company's largest tech hubs.

What they're saying: "This one is really about giving back," Leslie Walden, vice president of regional public affairs for Fidelity told Axios. "In the end we get to contribute to building the state's workforce, building the state's diverse workforce, and we get to do that on a national scale."

  • She added that Fidelity will use the Triangle, Dallas and Boston to learn how to scale the program nationally.

Details: Fidelity's $250 million commitment is broken down into three areas.

  1. It will partner with the UNCF and local groups such as Made in Durham to identify students for its new scholarship. Around $190 million of the funds will go toward scholarships and support.
  2. It will dole out grants to local institutions to assist students who are in danger of dropping out of school due to unpaid tuition or outstanding balances.
  3. It will send grants to nonprofit organizations working to improve graduation rates for Black, Latino and other underserved students.

Walden said that existing Fidelity workers also will volunteer to help mentor students on their careers and financial literacy.

What's next: Fidelity says it will work with its nonprofit partners to select its first group of scholarship recipients this summer. Interested students can apply through the United Negro College Fund.

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