Community Dividend

Financial education program effective, study says

Published May 1, 2005  |  May 2005 issue

An evaluation of the High School Financial Planning Program (HSFPP), a widely used financial education curriculum for high school seniors, reveals that students' financial knowledge and behavior improved significantly after they took the course.

The evaluation was sponsored by the National Endowment for Financial Education, which created the HSFPP, and conducted by a University of Minnesota professor. It surveyed 5,329 high school students and 202 teachers nationwide about their experience with the HSFPP. Immediately after completing the course, students assessed how it improved their financial behavior, knowledge and confidence. Three months later, a sampling of the surveyed students participated in a follow-up assessment.

According to the evaluation, 60 percent of students who studied the curriculum reported increased knowledge about the costs of credit, auto insurance and investments. Forty percent had begun tracking expenses and developing goals for managing and saving money, and 41 percent reported increased confidence in making financial decisions. Of the students surveyed three months later, 60 percent reported a positive change in their saving and spending patterns. The teachers, who were asked to assess the changes in their students' financial knowledge, reported that over 90 percent of students who took the course gained in their knowledge of credit, the time value of money and the career-income relationship.

To read the full evaluation results, visit the "Impact Evaluation" section of the HSFPP page at www.nefe.org/pages/educational.html.

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