March 24, 2023

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 14, 2022) — At the University of Kentucky, we are dedicated to upholding a powerful promise — to prepare students to lead lives of meaning and purpose.  
Part of that commitment is empowering and encouraging students to understand the importance of investing in themselves and their future.  
This week, UK officials announced that the institution is embarking on a foundational approach to help students — and, by extension, Kentucky — become healthier, wealthier and wiser.
Students will have the opportunity to achieve financial awareness, education and security through a holistic wellness initiative — UK Invests
“At the University of Kentucky, we believe education is transformative. We’re adding another dimension to this transformative experience,” UK President Eli Capilouto said. “The power of saving a little today — and compounding interest over a lifetime — is undeniable. UK Invests is the next step in what has been a long-term commitment we have made to the success of our students.” 
Through this initiative, all UK students (undergraduate, graduate and professional) will deepen their understanding of financial wellness, practice investing and receive monetary rewards for institution-identified healthy behaviors.  
Personal investment accounts will be used to incentivize behaviors and habits beginning with financial education and expanding to include other wellness initiatives. 
The voluntary account will be matched in part by investments from the university. In the first year of the program, UK will invest $1 million — entirely through private and philanthropic support. 
“This is the next step in our plan to support the holistic health and wellness of our students,” J. Kirsten Turner, UK’s vice president for student success, said. “To that end, UK Invests is a program that will encourage students to hardwire their habits around healthy behaviors: financial wellness, community and belonging, mental and physical well-being, and intellectual and skill development.”  
This first-of-its-kind program sets UK apart from other colleges and universities by teaching real-world situations to demonstrate the benefits of saving and investing early.  
Students will build a foundation of financial literacy — allowing them to achieve greater financial security, career readiness and well-being. 
“This micro investment strategy will produce macro change. We’re investing in our students now because we believe so much in the value and power of their degree and educational experience at UK,” Eric N. Monday, UK’s executive vice president for finance and administration, said.
UK Invests will be implemented in phases.
The idea is to provide micro-incentives to encourage healthy behaviors, as well as investing and saving. Students could receive incentives in their accounts, for example, for wellness or gym visits. 
The idea is to hard-wire healthy habits as part of the university’s overall approach to wellness. After all, the dimensions of wellness — financial, physical and mental health, well-being, a sense of community and belonging and intellectual and skill development — can be, and often are, interrelated.
“We are proud that UK Invests is beginning within UK Athletics as part of our academic achievement awards distribution. The success of UK Invests will not be measured by how many students or student-athletes open investment accounts. Instead, success will be measured by knowing that our student athletes — all 589 of them — have been equipped with the knowledge to improve their futures,” said Mitch Barnhart, director of UK Athletics. “The bold, new step announced today is an exciting opportunity to provide our student-athletes with academic achievement awards and show them how those awards can become so much more.” 
The UK Invests program is the next phase in the university’s holistic approach to both affordability and access as well as student wellness.
“We can say we’re going to put students first, but by stepping forward in this way, we do put students first,” Capilouto said. “We believe in them, their future and what it can mean for Kentucky.” 
More information about UK Invests can be found here
The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for” three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes’ list of “America’s Best Employers.”  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.


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