NEW YORK, Jan. 22, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Edquity, a Brooklyn-based edtech and fintech company supporting students through each and every financial decision on the road to college graduation, has raised $500k from Lumina Impact Ventures, the venture capital arm of the nation's leading foundation focused on improving equitable post-high school success.
The company will use the new funds to launch and scale its new cash-flow management, emergency resource referral, and emergency aid platform for college students, which will go live at LaGuardia Community College and Nevada State College in late January 2019. In addition to helping students weather challenges like food and housing insecurity, as well as financial emergencies, the product helps colleges identify students at risk of dropping out due to financial reasons, understand and measure students' utilization of emergency resources both on- and off- campus — with the goal of informing overall emergency aid practices — and track the immediate impact of emergency aid on student financial health.
"Lumina Foundation is the leading force in higher education driving research, policy efforts, and innovation around the critical social justice and economic issue of how financial challenges beyond tuition derail the college dreams of far too many learners — particularly low-income learners, first-generation college students, adult learners, and learners of color," said David Helene, founder and CEO of Edquity. "There is no better partner to help us further our student financial success and emergency aid work and position our most vulnerable learners to effectively navigate whatever financial difficulty may inevitably arise on their path to the post-high school credential that is now a prerequisite for not only workforce success but also for achieving social mobility in today's America. We are so excited to join forces with Lumina Foundation to see our mission through in a manner that is transformative and able to move the needle on fostering more equitable post-high school outcomes at scale."
According to research cited by the Emergency Aid Lab, an initiative funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations, 3 million students drop out each year due to a time-sensitive financial issue. Moreover, as many as 36%-42% of college learners suffer from food insecurity and as many as 36%-46% of students suffer from housing insecurity at any given time, according to the most recent research from the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice. As college costs continue to rise and as the number of low-income learners continue to grow as a percentage of enrollment at colleges, these issues will only become more pronounced. Edquity's unique platform directly addresses these challenges and helps students identify the timely emergency resources to avoid these financial fates.
"Education financing decisions are arguably one of the most critical decisions in a person's life, as evident by the $1.5 trillion student debt owed by Americans in the first quarter of 2018 as reported by the Federal Reserve. The American Dream is a façade and a potential nightmare if we do not provide the support system necessary for those who are most vulnerable to be successful in accessing and attaining a post-high school credential, which is increasingly critical in a competitive global and evolving market place, " said John Duong, Managing Director of Lumina Impact Ventures. "With these major barriers in mind, Lumina Foundation is excited to support and partner with Edquity, which is committed to helping our most vulnerable students grapple with these difficult structural financial challenges in a way that can drive scalable and more equitable credential attainment."
In addition to Lumina Foundation, Edquity has received investment and support from noteworthy partners including the Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Center for Financial Services Innovation, and the New Schools Venture Fund.
Beyond growing its footprint among college students in 2019, Edquity intends to ultimately roll out its own financial products to meet the unique and underserved financial needs of low-income learners.
Edquity offers a suite of technology platforms that collectively provide the first-of-its-kind one-stop shop for college financial success. In higher education, Edquity has worked with innovative partners that include LaGuardia Community College, Nevada State College, and Palo Alto College. In K-12, Edquity has worked with leading districts and non-profit college access organizations that include the New York City Department of Education, DC Public Schools, IDEA Public Schools, and College Possible, among others. Edquity has received over $1.5MM in funding from innovative investment and philanthropic partners include the Lumina Foundation, Wells Fargo, CFSI, the Gates Foundation, and New Schools Venture Fund.
About Lumina Impact Ventures
Lumina Impact Ventures leverages investment capital to accelerate development of promising solutions that can help more people benefit from education and training beyond high school. Lumina Foundation, an independent, private foundation headquartered in Indianapolis operates this impact investing arm as part of its national commitment to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. The foundation envisions a system that is easy to navigate, delivers fair results, and meets the nation's need for talent through a broad range of credentials. The foundation's goal is to prepare people for informed citizenship and for success in a global economy.