Harvard University’s Credit Building Program Earns High Marks
“I think the beauty of Working Credit’s program is that it sets out to do one thing, and does it well,” says Susan Simon, Senior HR Consultant and Campus Services Training Coordinator. “People walk in thinking they know what credit is, but they don’t fully understand the ramifications of good versus bad credit, or how much impact the credit score can have on their financial and emotional well-being.”
Thus far, Harvard has brought Working Credit’s financial wellness program to its Dining Services workers and parking attendants. At a regularly scheduled training session held in the workplace, participants learn about the rules of the credit scoring system and can then sign up for 24 months of one-on-one credit building counseling. “The response has been enormous, and the follow up counseling has really reached people,” says Simon. “They stop me in the halls to talk about what they’re learning.”
Harvard’s participants have good reason to be enthusiastic. After 18 months, 71% of all employees in the program have improved their credit scores. Also at 18 months, the number of employees with a prime score increased by 30%, and the number with at least $1,000 of available credit on one or more credit cards increased by 41%.
In fact, word of mouth from participants has been so strong that the Harvard custodians recently asked for the program as well, and will begin this summer. Simon stresses that she’s gotten positive feedback from everyone from hourly staff to management—many of whom have asked if their spouses and adult children can participate. “After the first meeting, Working Credit does all the follow up,” adds Simon. “Our employees truly appreciate the program, and it’s easy to implement.”