Our Funding Priorities

NEFE identifies the following topics as research funding priorities, marking a shift in our agenda. While our grant cycle remains open to all eligible concepts, we give preference to well-designed projects that align with the priorities listed below. Our directed research opportunities provide funding for projects that address these topics specifically.


Strong standards of measurement strengthen the case for effective financial education and inspire others to join our cause. We continuously seek to improve the quality of research in our field by evaluating whether our instruments are effective in their measurement. We are interested in re-evaluating current financial literacy metrics and how financial literacy, behavior, perception, knowledge and skill can be measured more effectively.

We seek:
  • Existing measures to be validated and grounded in theory
  • The creation of new measurements that are grounded in theory
  • Measures to be tested for validity across demographic attributes (e.g., race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, age cohorts).
  • Sensitivity and awareness that individuals’ lived experiences vary and therefore measurement validity may differ across populations

Systemic Inequality

NEFE acknowledges that financial education alone cannot solve the economic inequity that exists across socioeconomic status, race and gender within the U.S. We see financial education as one piece of a broader ecosystem that affects individual financial capability and well-being.

We ask:
  • To what extent does financial education play a role in driving equity across populations?
  • How does it cooperate with other factors within the ecosystem?
  • How can it improve to bridge the many gaps and meet the diverse needs of individuals and communities within our country?

We encourage the investigation of knowledge, skill and wealth disparities—especially among populations that statistically are more likely to experience systemic barriers to improving their financial well-being, such as Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities, and women and girls. It also is essential to consider the framework of intersectionality when examining population-based disparities.

We pursue the study of disparities through the lens of:
  • Effective financial education pedagogy
  • Effective evaluation
  • Culturally competent curriculum, programs and educators

Data and Methodological Limitations

Examining bias—specifically as it pertains to personal finance—helps us identify knowledge gaps in our field. By being more inclusive, we can strengthen both our research design and data. For example, individuals without a credit score disproportionately earn a lower income and are underrepresented in many research studies that use credit score as a key variable, thus limiting the income variation of the study's population.

  • Who are we excluding, and why?
  • Alternatively, why are certain populations always being studied?
  • What are the ways research can give a voice to those who have traditionally been unseen and less heard in the data?

Youth Focus

NEFE recognizes that exposure to financial education among youth in the U.S. can vary widely based on the presence or implementation of state mandates and the amount of financial socialization and education within a family unit. Such a wide range of formative experiences creates an inconsistent foundation for the knowledge and skills critical to financial well-being and decision making in emerging adults.

We request:
  • Novel approaches to measure the efficacy of state mandates or the equivalent for local jurisdictions, including implementation and impact
  • Investigations into family socialization and foundational factors

Refer to our guidelines for successful grant proposals to help you formulate your proposal.

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Join us for our 2nd Financial Education Innovation and Impact Summit in Denver, Oct. 8-10

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