Ongoing Research

NEFE currently has several projects in progress. See below for information and updates about ongoing projects. Discover more information about our research funding and learn how to apply.

NEFE’s current grant amounts range from $87,000 to $293,000. We do not have set minimums or maximums; however, larger grants are typically awarded to longer-term or broader-scope projects.

Boston College

  • Grant Amount: $228,559
  • Principal Investigators: Angela Boatman and Katrina Borowiec
  • Project Duration: 16 months
  • The purpose of this project is to develop a series of survey measures for various aspects of the NEFE Personal Finance Ecosystem. These measures will capture the nuance and complexity of these constructs for prospective/current undergraduate and graduate students and could be used in national cross-sectional and longitudinal surveys, evaluation studies of financial well-being interventions, and small-scale research studies.

Texas Tech

  • Grant Amount: $111,417
  • Principal Investigator: Miranda Reiter
  • Project Duration: 18 months
  • The purpose of this project is to explore the Klontz Money Script Inventory-Revised (KMSI-R), a free online tool that assesses individuals’ money beliefs (e.g., beliefs) to help improve consumers’ financial well-being. The study will examine which money scripts are most at risk for lower financial literacy and financial self-efficacy to allow practitioners to intervene, assess the KMSI-R's validity on non-White samples, and suggest measurement improvement.

Dartmouth College

  • Grant Amount: $128,189
  • Principal Investigator: Sean Kang
  • Project Duration: 24 months
  • The purpose of this project is to harness cognitive learning principles and smartphone apps to improve the long-term retention and efficacy of financial education interventions. Retrieving from memory (i.e., testing yourself), processing elaborated feedback, and spacing practice out over time are effective ways to promote durable learning. These learning strategies will be implemented in a smartphone app that participants in financial education workshops will use to review/practice target concepts after the workshop. The effects on long-term retention/application of the concepts and on financial decision-making will be assessed.

Stevens Institute of Technology

  • Grant Amount: $124,332
  • Principal Investigator: Joelle Saad-Lessler
  • Project Duration: 24 months
  • The purpose of the project is to evaluate the extent that Americans invest in collectivist networks in lieu of formal savings using new data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation. Findings may inform more realistic savings policy and help reorient financial education approaches to convince all Americans of the benefits of both formal and informal savings.


  • Grant Amount: $155,000
  • Principal Investigator: Joseph de la Torre Dwyer
  • Project Duration: 18 months
  • The purpose of the project is to explore the research question: “What is the impact of greater spending on youth financial education upon measures designed to capture the experiences and challenges of low- and moderate-income Americans?” Despite the explosion in the incidence of financial education mandates as requirements for high school graduation, there is no canonical data on an important variable: historical spending on financial education by state and by year. Such spending may tell us far more about the quality and depth of financial education than the existence of a mandate. The project proposes to first fill that historical spending gap via desk research. Then, to concretely answer the research question, the project will estimate the impact of such spending on the measures as found in the Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking (SHED).

University of Arizona

  • Grant Amount: $128,510
  • Principal Investigator: Ashley LeBaron
  • Project Duration: 17 months
  • The purpose of this project is to create new, retrospective and psychometrically-tested measures of family financial socialization. Through this work, data will be collected on 5,000 U.S. emerging adults using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to test how these new measures of family financial socialization are associated with relational and general life outcomes.

University of Alabama

  • Grant Amount: $87,001
  • Principal Investigator: Melissa Wilmarth
  • Project Duration: 29 months
  • The purpose of this project is to demonstrate threats and consequences associated with “don’t know” and “refused to answer” responses in financial knowledge surveys, and to propose an alternate framework for survey instruments.

Urban Institute

  • Grant Amount: $250,000
  • Principal Investigator: Brett Theodos
  • Project Duration: 28 months
  • The purpose of this project is to implement a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the impacts of rent reporting on the credit scores, debt holdings and credit access of tenants, as well as the timeliness of rent payments and eviction rates.

RAND Corporation

  • Grant Amount: $241,210
  • Principal Investigator: Melanie Zaber
  • Project Duration: 18 months
  • The purpose of this project is to examine the implementation, terms, and structure of Income Share Agreements, which are financing plans for higher education that provide funding in exchange for a promised percentage of future wages. Results will generate insight for equitable marketing and implementation of these programs.

RAND Corporation

  • Grant Amount: $199,414
  • Principal Investigator: Christine Mulhern
  • Project Duration: 24 months
  • The purpose of this project is to evaluate the efficacy of Nevada’s newly implemented financial education mandate in grades 3-12. The study will reveal key lessons learned from educators and leaders, such as training guidelines, materials and subject matter, and how to promote DEI principles across diverse schools.

St. Louis University

  • Grant Amount: $295,632
  • Principal Investigator: Julie Birkenmaier
  • Project Duration: 36 months
  • The purpose of this project is to develop an individual financial access scale for use in practice, research, and policymaking. Research will be informed through qualitative data from literature reviews and cognitive interviews as well quantitative data from two large national surveys. The new scale will enhance understanding of the impact of environmental factors on financial wellbeing.
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