Students Step Up to National Financial Challenge

U.S. Treasury, Dept. of Education Encourage Teacher Participation

Date: March 23, 2011

Contact: Paul Golden 303-224-3514, [email protected]

DENVER—Just how much do high school students know about managing money? Government and financial education leaders hope to find out by encouraging teachers to sign up for the 2011 National Financial Capability Challenge, which is open now through April 8, 2011.

The Challenge is a free online exam that tests young adults’ knowledge about earning, spending, saving, borrowing, risk protection and more. Top scorers are eligible for scholarships and other awards.

The Challenge is a thought-provoking exercise that gives many high school students the opportunity to see how much they really know about personal finance," says Ted Beck, president and CEO of NEFE and member of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability. "Financial times are tough right now, but the economy is providing a teachable moment for showing young adults that they will need tools to navigate what, at times, can be an uncertain or difficult financial future. This learning needs to be delivered as often as possible both in the classroom and at home," Beck says.

While 89 percent of K-12 teachers agree students should take a financial education course or pass a competency test for high school graduation, relatively few teachers feel they are adequately prepared to teach this topic. A study funded by NEFE, and completed in 2009 at the University of Wisconsin, finds that just 29 percent of teachers are offering financial education instruction. And fewer than 20 percent of those teachers report feeling “very competent” to teach any of the personal finance topics surveyed.

Earlier offerings of the Challenge relied on teachers to find and deliver appropriate financial education programs to their students," adds Beck. "This time, the Challenge website offers an incredibly valuable educator toolkit to help prepare teachers on core subjects and raise their confidence in their abilities to present financial education to their students."

How to Take the Challenge

Between now and April 8, 2011, any high school teacher or educator who instructs students ages 13-19 can register for the free program at, download the toolkit for educators, and prepare their students to take the brief exam.

And taking the Challenge can pay off. The Charles Schwab Foundation has announced that it will award select students who excel at the Challenge with $1,000 scholarships and matching grants for the schools. Additionally, the top two scorers at each participating school, plus all students who score in the top 20 percent, will receive award certificates from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. In 2010, nearly 77,000 high-school students competed in the Challenge.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Treasury in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education, the Challenge was developed in consultation with researchers, economists and the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, Junior Achievement USA, the Council for Economic Education, and the National Endowment for Financial Education. For more information and to sign up for the National Financial Capability Challenge, visit For information on the Schwab Foundation scholarships, visit



  • Paul Golden

    Media Relations Director

    Direct: 303-224-3514
    Cell: 303-918-3620
    [email protected]