Welcome to Arkansas State University!

News Article

Tew Receives AccessLex Grant for Scarlet to Black Financial Literacy Program


JONESBORO – Dr. Philip Tew, associate professor of finance and director of economic education and financial literacy at Arkansas State University, has received a grant in the amount of $97,537 from AccessLex Institute's Center for Education and Financial Capability. The grant will fund a project for the university’s Scarlet to Black (S2B) program.
The financial education research grant program at AccessLex provides support for the development and implementation of innovative, high-impact financial education research. The central goal of the grant is to develop data, facts and conclusions that further the understanding on how to develop student financial knowledge, support behavior change, and ultimately promote financial well-being.
“The funds from AccessLex will allow the S2B Program to have an even greater impact on our first-year students at A-State,” said Tew, who is also the adviser for the highly successful Phi Beta Lambda chapter. “This will allow us to work with our students to improve the financial wellness of the next generation of Arkansas leaders, and assist them in breaking away from the consequences of living in communities with persistent poverty that unfortunately dot the Arkansas Delta region.”
The Scarlet to Black program, initiated by Tew in 2018, aids the financial literacy and actions of students at A-State. The program consists of two related series – “A Howling Start to Your Future,” focusing entirely on incoming first-year students and their families, and SCARLET (Smart College and Real Life Educational Training) to Black, that will host events open to any student, faculty or staff member at A-State.
The project will focus on the impact that peer-led and initiated behavioral nudges (in the form of emails, text messages, and phone calls) will have on the financial wellness goals of first-year college students. This project will compare and contrast the financial wellness and completion of financial goals over time of a random sample of first-year students who will receive periodic nudges from peer mentors to a control group of first-year students who will not receive any behavioral nudges. The project will analyze the effectiveness and cost efficiency of the different types of behavioral nudges (email, text messaging, and phone calls).
Two students, who are financial wellness interns, will be heavily involved in the project. Melanie Ricker, a senior banking and financial management major from Corning, plans to pursue a Master of Public Administration this fall. Alexus Leonard, also from Corning, is a senior English major who is planning to pursue a Master of Arts degree in English.
"I came into A-State with the goal of becoming an accountant,” said Ricker. “That eventually transitioned to financial planner and adding finance to my accounting major. Now, I am a banking and financial management major minoring in accounting, financial wealth management, and marketing with a passion to serve. 
“Throughout these changes, my ultimate goal has remained the same: I want to make an impact. The S2B program has been a fantastic opportunity to do this, and what better place to start than with my Red Wolves community. Talking with students of all ages, majors and backgrounds has allowed me to improve my communication and understanding skills greatly. I look forward to reaching more students with the help of this grant."
“Working with Scarlet to Black has allowed me to grow into both a better leader and professional as an undergraduate, and soon-to-be graduate student,” added Leonard. “As an English major, it has been wonderful to see the program and students welcome me so readily, despite never having taken a business, math, or finance class on campus.
“However, it has been working with other students to mold ideas and projects together that has truly been the most rewarding. Coming together to create something and then being able to present that to even more students, to hopefully teach them something about financial literacy, is what I strive to continue to do within Scarlet to Black.”

Philip Tew
Dr. Philip Tew