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September 23, 2021

Student Freedom Initiative Announces $10 Million Gift from Members of Jane Street

Sept. 23, 2021

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Student Freedom Initiative today announced a $10 million gift from members of Jane Street. The gift will support Student Freedom Initiative’s Income Contingent Agreements (ICAs), an alternative financial mechanism used to allow students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to graduate free of crushing student loan debt. Jane Street will also offer engaging educational opportunities to HBCU students who are interested in exploring careers in financial services.

Students utilizing ICAs are able to attend university for a lower cost, on average, than parent plus or private loans. Repayment through ICAs is tied directly to a student’s income — meaning a student will not be required to pay whenever they are not working, earning below the poverty level, or in graduate school, and payments will never exceed a fixed percentage of a student’s income.

The contribution from the members of Jane Street will go towards funding higher education in perpetuity through ICAs. Jane Street will also extend their FOCUS program to as many as 150 HBCU students per academic year, providing enriching experiences at the Jane Street NYC office to students interested in careers at the intersection of technology and finance with roles that could span trading, software engineering, and business development. Jane Street’s gift is also the first received by Student Freedom Initiative from members of a global financial services firm.

“The Student Freedom Initiative is grateful for this gift as it is a major investment in Black STEM students,” said Robert F. Smith, Chairman of Student Freedom Initiative. “This gift is a vote of confidence not just in our program at the Student Freedom Initiative, but also in the potential these young students carry to change the face of STEM and make their mark on our communities. We are hopeful this gift will not only inspire students to pursue a STEM education, but also help equip them with the tools they need to start their careers.”

“We are proud to partner with the Student Freedom Initiative to address the student debt crisis,” said Matt Berger of Jane Street. “College tuition places an enormous financial burden on students and perpetuates an uneven playing field. With this grant, we hope to help reduce the financial risk so that talented students of all backgrounds have the opportunity to pursue careers in STEM fields.”

“We’ve been extremely grateful to have partners such as Cisco, AVC Technologies/Computex, and Walmart join us in our mission to foster Black students pursuing STEM education. Today marks another milestone in advancing this work as we announce this gift from employees of Jane Street, the first major gift from an outside firm to support financing for students through Student Freedom Initiative’s Income Contingent Agreements. A recent McKinsey & Company Report highlighted that the proportion of people of color in financial services drops 75% from entry-level positions to C-suite. Pairing college accessibility with immersive experiences are important stepping stones to diversity in financial services. We hope that other firms will join the effort to ensure that talented, underrepresented students are reflected in today’s workforce — this will also help reduce employees’ feelings of exclusion and being the ‘ONLY’ as summarized in this McKinsey report,” Mark A. Brown, Executive Director of Student Freedom Initiative, added.

Launched in March 2020, the Student Freedom Initiative is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring freedom in professional and life choices for students attending Minority Serving Institutions. To date, the Student Freedom Initiative has received over $100 million in pledges, including generous contributions from Fund 2 Foundation, Cisco and the Walmart Foundation. The program has also been acknowledged and supported by the Business Roundtable’s Racial Equity & Justice Subcommittee on Education. We encourage others who are interested in supporting students across the entire HBCU ecosystem to contact us or donate on our website.

About Student Freedom Initiative

The Student Freedom Initiative, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is dedicated to ensuring freedom in professional and life choices for junior and senior students pursuing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees. Initially focused on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), the Student Freedom Initiative is student-centered, evidence-based, and holistic. SFI enables the social and economic mobility of participants through four transformative components, including an income contingent alternative to fixed payment obligations used to finance college, internships, mentoring, tutoring, and other student services, as well as targeted HBCU capacity building. SFI collaborates with community-based organizations, businesses, and governmental entities through public-private partnerships to make sustainable, systemic changes to support the entire HBCU ecosystem. To learn more, visit or find us on Twitter @StuFreedomOrg.

About Jane Street

Jane Street is a global trading firm and market maker. We provide 24-hour liquidity around the world in ETFs, equities, commodities, options, bonds, and cryptocurrencies. As a firm of collaborative problem solvers, we leverage our technology and expertise to provide consistent liquidity across market conditions. We use these capabilities to help our clients achieve their trading goals and offer competitive pricing and support through the most complex of trades. Our offices are located in New York, London, Hong Kong, and Amsterdam.


Dafna Tapiero