Apr 17, 2021

NGPF Podcast: Dr. Mordecai Brownlee on the importance of financial education at community colleges


I know you will enjoy this conversation with Dr. Mordecai Brownlee, the Vice President of Student Success at St. Philip's College in San Antonio, Texas. We discuss his role at the college, why he cares so deeply about increasing financial capability and several inspiring student success stories. We also discuss the state of financial education in the U.S.; look for NGPF's 2021 State of Financial Education Report later this week. Enjoy!


  • 0:00~10:13 Current Events with Missbehelpful: Got Student Loans? You're Not Alone
  • 10:13~11:01 A word from NGPF: Mission 2025 
  • 11:01~12:21 Introducing this Week’s Guest: Dr. Mordecai Brownlee
  • 12:21~13:20 On the multiple hats Dr. Brownlee wears
  • 13:20~15:14 Motivations to write about financial literacy
  • 15:14~16:54 Experience teaching business courses
  • 16:54~19:48 The state of community colleges
  • 19:48~22:09 What the Dallas County Promise offers
  • 22:09~26:40 Creating job opportunities for young adults
  • 26:40~29:38 Increasing access to financial literacy education
  • 29:38~31:37 Students opening up to talk about their finances
  • 31:37~34:23 Student success stories
  • 34:23~36:12 On the racial wealth gap in the US
  • 36:12~37:54 Words of encouragement for educators
  • 37:54~38:58 Conclusion



  • “You may never actually see the actual fruit of that tree but we [educators] played a role watering that seed or played a role planting that seed that grows at a later time. We are all a part of shifting reality for a family or a student… Financial literacy is a huge and significant part of our work in empowering and elevating society.”

About the Authors

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

Ren Makino

Ren started interning at NGPF in 2014, and worked part-time through high school and college. With his knowledge growing alongside NGPF, he joined the team to work full-time after graduating from college in 2020. He is also the producer of the NGPF podcast. During his free time, he likes to try out coffees from different roasters across the world.

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