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National Endowment for Financial Education shares 2018 High School Financial Planning Program evaluation results

There are many benefits to teen financial education and using the High School Financial Planning Program curriculum.

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The High School Financial Planning Program (HSFPP) is a free, comprehensive, basic personal finance curriculum specifically designed to be relevant to the lives of teens ages 13-19. The program is coordinated through the National Endowment for Financial Education and intended for in-person teaching. It is primarily used in classrooms and workshops including programming through Michigan State University Extension and Michigan 4-H. Cooperative Extension Services and the Credit Union National Association, Inc. are both partners in the creation, education and use of this money management curriculum.

Periodically evaluating the curriculum takes place to review the efficacy and impact of the work. The Economics Center at the University of Cincinnati conducted the latest evaluation over the 2016-2017 school year.

The overall results demonstrate that any financial education is beneficial for youth, but the format and change-in-behavior approach of the High School Financial Planning Program have longer-term impact. The curriculum uses a hands-on learning approach as opposed to just teaching content. The results show that:

  • “HSFPP students have greater average gains in confidence.Students report having money management conversations with family and friends based on what they learned from the HSFPP.”
  • “HSFPP students are better at demonstrating and forming positive behaviors.Students report developing money management plans, opening savings accounts and paying more attention to spending habits as a result of the HSFPP.”

The evaluation also demonstrates the overall benefits of financial education and some best-practices to consider when setting up a program. Some of those findings include:

  • “Students in districts that require financial education display higher financial capability.” Teaching any component of financial education (and requiring all youth to attend that program) is a boost for youth now and into their future.
  • “Having checking, savings and investment accounts of their own improves student performance.” Whenever possible, it helps to have youth start up or develop accounts with a financial institution. Building that relationship with a bank or credit union and having hands-on experiences to put their learning into practice makes a big difference.
  • “High school seniors significantly outperform younger students, indicating the teen years are a key growth period for financial capability.” While financial education is important at any age, there are immediate benefits for teens as they have more direct experience with money and often have the funds to have checking, savings and investment accounts to directly apply their skills.
  • “Students in financial education programs lasting seven weeks or longer had better outcomes than those lasting one to three or four to six weeks.” Again, any education or awareness building is helpful but having intensive, on-going programs is the most beneficial, when possible. In particular, this finding supports inclusion of financial education into high school curriculums but into all on-going educational experiences including 4-H clubs, community centers, youth groups, and after-school programs.

The National Endowment for Financial Education High School Financial Planning Program is a helpful resource for financial education for teens and these results underscore the benefits financial education has on our youth and their future. Consider ways to incorporate these lessons in the work that you do.

For the full report, check out the HSFPP 2018 Evaluation.

Michigan State University Extension and Michigan 4-H Youth Development help to prepare young people for successful futures. As a result of career exploration and workforce preparation activities, thousands of Michigan youth are better equipped to make important decisions about their professional future, ready to contribute to the workforce and able to take fiscal responsibility in their personal lives.

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