Successful NEFE Grant Proposals

Successful proposals have outcomes that are actionable in the field of financial education, directly relevant to the financial well-being of the American public, and broadly applicable to a variety of U.S. households or individuals. Proactive inquiries initiated from any of the scholarly disciplines—not just finance or economics—whose findings may cultivate critical thinking in the financial education community are of particular interest.

Proposed projects should be based on original research questions that necessitate rigorous, empirical analysis. Also consider the following:

  • Research should directly study U.S. households or individuals or focus on issues pertaining to them.
  • Original data is not required; projects may be conducted utilizing existing datasets.
  • Research may investigate the impacts of financial education directly or result in findings that are impactful to the financial education field.
  • Projects that directly incorporate financial education interventions should adhere to NEFE’s 5 Key Factors for Effective Financial Education. Additionally, the person delivering the education should not be one of the researchers.
  • Before crafting your proposal, ask, “What does this research inquiry have to do with financial education?”
  • Consider where the project fits within NEFE’s Personal Finance Ecosystem.

Ultimately, NEFE-funded research informs the work of financial educators, practitioners, policy makers and the academic community. All proposed research projects easily should be able to answer the question, “So what?”  

NEFE’s grant cycles are open. We welcome all research concepts that align with our mission and are compatible with our eligibility requirements.

Current NEFE research interests include:

  • Best practices for financial education interventions that demonstrate the largest impact on behavior change for the longest period of time (testing educational impact and strategy, not the effectiveness of a single program).
  • How financial education affects college success and retention.
  • Technology and education.
  • Gender—interdisciplinary approaches to building best practices and closing gaps.
  • Workplace financial education.
  • Income volatility—how financial education and literacy can offset income shocks.
  • Connecting financial education to health and wellness outcomes.
  • Insight into underserved populations, such as those from low socioeconomic backgrounds or those without a college degree.
  • Effectively measuring financial literacy.

Do not feel constrained by this list above. Some of our best proposals are come from ideas we hadn’t considered before. No matter your topic of interest, consider these questions as you formulate your proposal.

Browse past and current NEFE-funded research projects to see what types of projects we’ve funded.

NEFE often receives proposals that seek to investigate the effectiveness of one-on-one financial coaching, counseling and mentoring or to test the effectiveness of practices and theories in behavioral economics. These emerging fields are valuable and have merit, but will have the best chance of moving forward in our funding process if they are framed within a financial education context or as a complement to foundational financial education theory and practice.

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