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Key Takeaways:


  • Advancing Kentucky means advancing our students, preparing them for lives of meaning and purpose.
  • To that end, we are launching a first-of-its-kind initiative today called UK Invests. It is the next step in our plan to support the holistic health and wellness of our students.
  • The idea: increase financial education for all our students and give them a defined pathway to a practical tool — their own voluntary investment accounts — to begin saving and investing in themselves. If we believe in the power of a UK degree, we should start investing in it now — reinforcing what’s possible for our students and the promise we have made to our Commonwealth.


Campus community,

Our mission is to advance Kentucky — to begin to change our state today so that it is healthier, wealthier and wiser tomorrow.

Nothing is more central — or more essential — to that mission than the success of our students and the calling we all share as a community to prepare them for lives of meaning and purpose.

Today, our mission is meeting the moment in new and exciting ways.

This morning, we are announcing a first-of-its-kind initiative — a program that will help our students develop a deeper understanding of the value of investing in themselves, in part, fueled by investments we make in them.

UK Invests is a holistic wellness initiative anchored by financial education. Ultimately, through this initiative, everyone on our campus can receive a voluntary personal account that they can invest in, matched in part by investments from UK. Those micro-incentives will be tied to rewards around healthy habits, such as financial education, wellness visits and going to the gym.

In other words, we are seeking to hardwire good habits, ensuring that micro-interventions and incentives have a macro-impact. You can learn more about the initiative here, but here’s a snapshot of the vision we will start to put in place in the coming days:

  • This month, we will be conducting financial education sessions with our 600 student athletes, who because of an NCAA rule change for the first time this semester will be provided academic achievement awards in addition to their scholarships.
  • In October, following the completion of the online financial education courses, UK’s student athletes will have the opportunity to open personal investment accounts. UK’s student athletes represent a compelling test cohort for this initiative as they mirror our student body in important ways; for example, the number of them who are first-generation college students.
  • iGrad, a leading financial education provider with university and employer clients located all over the world, is our partner in building out compelling online content for our financial education courses.
  • Later this fall, the university will begin the roll out of the program across the campus with other cohorts of students. Later in the spring, the program will be offered to prospective students (who ultimately enroll).
  • By fall 2023, all students will have the opportunity to invest in personal investment accounts that can be matched in small increments as the student participates in specified healthy behaviors. We hope to begin piloting this program with employees as well.
  • As part of this initiative, the university is working with Fidelity Investments to develop an investing app customized for UK — the Bloom UK Invests app — to ensure our students are empowered to make deposits in their future investment opportunities. That can help them reap a lifetime of benefits for themselves, their families and their communities.
  • We have a longstanding association with Fidelity, a nationally regarded firm that has, for many years, provided retirement and investment services for many of our employees. Fidelity also has 6,000 employees in Kentucky.

The power of saving a little today — and compounding interest over a lifetime — is undeniable. In an important sense, then, UK Invests is the next step in what has been a long-term commitment we have made to the success of our students.

  • We have worked thoughtfully to increase access and affordability. Our rolling average increase in tuition and mandatory fees for the last four years is now 1.6 percent; a decade ago that average increase was nearly 6 percent.
  • Over the last several years, we’ve nearly tripled the amount of financial aid to students, which doesn’t have to be repaid, to more than $160 million this academic year.
  • We’ve attacked student debt and unmet financial need through the nationally heralded, UK LEADS program.
  • We’ve significantly expanded the technological support we provide students. Under a Smart Campus initiative, for example, the university has provided every incoming student for the past four years with an iPad and other tools to enhance learning.

Now, we are taking a bold, new step — investing in our students and showing them the power of investing in themselves. As this program is implemented and continues to expand, we will be communicating further about this exciting opportunity that we have to lead and to advance Kentucky.

Eli Capilouto