Administration Challenges Students to Build Financial Knowledge Base
The Obama Administration hasrnannounced the latest in a series of attempts to improve the financial literacyrnof the nation with a National Financial Capability Challenge to run concurrent withrnthe 2010-11 school year. The Challengernis a voluntary classroom program to help educators teach high school students aboutrnsaving, budgeting, credit and other skills critical to financial capability.</p
This is the second year for thernChallenge which last year attracted 76,000 students and 2,500 educators fromrnall 50 states. The Administration isrnhoping to improve those numbers by 15 percent this year and has asked previousrnparticipants to become “ambassadors for financial education” andrnrecruit additional teachers to participate. </p
Teachers enrolled in the Challengernwill be able to download a Teacher Toolkit with ready-to-use lesson plans onrnimportant financial concepts. An onlinernexam will be administered by each teacher to students during a month-longrnwindow in March and April. Top scorersrnnationally and in each school will receive award certificates.</p
“The recent financial crisis taught us an enduring lesson.rnFinancial literacy is essential not only to the financial security of millionsrnof American families, but also to the economic health of our nation as arnwhole,” said Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. “Ensuring that youngrnpeople have the skills they need to make wise financial choices today and intornadulthood will help us build a stronger foundation for our nation’s economicrnfuture.” </p
In a recent study conducted by the Federal Reserve of Atlanta, researchersrnfound that financial literacy along with numerical ability and cognitiverncapacity had a high correlation with mortgage delinquency and foreclosure rates. </p
The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act which was enacted in Julyrnestablishes an office within the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureaurnexpressly for financial education that will provide consumers withrnopportunities to access financial counseling; information to assist with thernevaluation of credit products and credit histories; savings, borrowing, andrnother services found at mainstream financial institutions; activities intendedrnto reduce debt, and prepare for educational expenses and other major purchases; rnassistance in developing long-term savings strategies; and financial servicesrnduring the preparation process to claim earned income tax credits and otherrnfederal benefits.</p
In April the Obama Administration launched a financial literacy educationrnwebsite, http://www.mymoney.gov which hasrnalready received 17 million hits and the Department of Education has doubledrnits investment in K-12 financial literacy programs. Earlier this month Treasury unveiled a pilotrnprogram to set up financial accounts with debit card access for individuals without bank accounts to receive andrnaccess tax returns made by direct deposit, cutting down their reliance highrncost services such as check-cashing. Therernhave also been attempts to educate consumers about financial products withrninteractive applications on FHA, FDIC, and other websites.</p
Educators wishing to sign up for the challenge can do so at: http://www.challenge.treas.gov/about.aspx.
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