Incoming freshman at Howard University in Northwest kick off their school year with an event at Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel on Aug. 11. (Roy Lewis/The Washington Informer)
**FILE** Incoming freshman at Howard University in Northwest kick off the fall 2019 semester with an event at Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel on Aug. 11. (Roy Lewis/The Washington Informer)

Howard University has launched a financial wellness plan to help students, faculty and staff become more “financially healthier in a sustainable way,” said President Wayne A.I. Frederick.

In doing so, the school has rolled out a series of policy changes and financial literacy resources specifically designed to help employees after Frederick and other university officials conducted an analysis of HU’s workforce and realized they weren’t saving as much as they could have.

The groundwork began two years ago when the university instituted a policy that unmarried employees making less than $35,000 a year wouldn’t need to pay a health insurance premium.

That laid to another change last month, when all non-union Howard employees making less than $35,000 a year received an annual salary boost to $34,999, so they could bring home more and potentially avoid paying health insurance premiums as well.

The adjusted salaries bumped Howard University’s minimum wage up to $16.82 an hour, almost $3 more than Washington, D.C.’s minimum wage, which is among the highest in the country at $14 an hour. In the process, 56 staff members received salary raises.

The university is also pushing its Howard University Savings Plan, for which Howard University and Howard University Hospital contribute 6 percent of an employee’s base salary, and if employees voluntarily add another 4 percent, they get an additional match of 2 percent with no vesting period.

University officials believe that getting faculty and staff to take full advantage of the plan is the “next step” in an “ongoing and continuous” effort to help employees save up for retirement.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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