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National Initiative Aims to Turn Students Into Homeowners

March 9, 2006 — Following the successful debut last year of the Student Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP), the University of the Virgin Islands will once again host the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's initiative designed to help young people become homeowners at an early age. This year the foundation has expanded the program and has renamed it SHOP for Wealth. Along with providing homeownership information and a $1,000 stipend to qualified students for the purchase of a home, this year's seminar will also focus on financial literacy. The seminars will be held on March 21 and 23.
"SHOP for Wealth responds to the rising statistics of student overspending and extreme debt leading to bankruptcy," said CBCF President and CEO Dr. Don I. Tharpe. "The credit card companies are getting to these kids before they can be taught the one-two-threes of credit and money management," he said. "What we found as we talked to college students about homeownership was that many of them were already in major credit card and student loan debt and had no clue about establishing good credit, managing credit cards, saving, and planning for their futures."
St. Thomas Associate Campus Executive Administrator Dr. Doris Battiste said the approximately 200 students on both campuses that attended last year's session were eager to receive the information. She hopes for an even bigger turnout this year as the event has been expanded to two days and will include pep rallies and cash giveaways.
"This is an opportunity to empower our students and encourage them to think critically about their future," said Dr. Battiste, coordinator of the event. "All of us can gain from the information they are sharing."
All UVI students and employees are encouraged to attend. Qualified graduating seniors who participate will receive a certificate of $1,000 towards the down payment and closing costs of their first home. A senior is classified as a UVI student who fulfills the requirement for graduation in either May or December of 2006. Graduating seniors can register at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's Web site.
In 2006, SHOP will travel to Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
SHOP for Wealth Seminar Schedule
Tuesday, March 21
–11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Pep Rally and Giveaways, UVI Sports and Fitness Center, St. Thomas campus
–12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. SHOP Seminar, UVI Sports and Fitness Center, St. Thomas campus
Thursday, March 23
–3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Pep Rally and Giveaways, UVI St. Thomas campus Business Building, St. Croix campus Evans Center
–5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. SHOP Seminar, UVI St. Croix campus Evans Center Room 401 with videoconference to St. Thomas campus Business Building Room 110
For more information, call the office of the St. Thomas Campus Associate Campus Administrator at 639-1120.
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