Student Loans

It’s All About Implementation: Promising Results for State Financial Education Mandates

J. Michael Collins Its All About Implementation: Promising Results for State Financial Education MandatesBy J. Michael Collins, Ph.D., Center for Financial Security, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The growing complexity of financial decisions facing American consumers has prompted an increased emphasis by policymakers on promoting financial education at all stages of life. One group of specific concern is young adults, as they have been shown to have particularly low levels of financial literacy (Lusardi et al., 2010 ).

The 2008 financial crisis further demonstrated the need for broad-based financial education. However, the existing body of research on the effectiveness of financial literacy education has yielded limited evidence that it improves financial outcomes and behaviors according to research (Fernandes et al., 2014 and Willis, 2011

Policymakers have promoted financial education in schools as a means of combating negative financial behaviors and low levels of financial knowledge. However, research on the effectiveness of financial education has found, at best, mixed evidence in terms of education resulting in changes in financial behaviors. Even in the absence of evidence on the effectiveness of financial education, policymakers at the state level have expanded and strengthened personal finance and economic education requirements for K–12 students, a topic which has been taught in K–12 public schools in the U.S. since the 1950s. Determining which particular financial education programs yield the greatest benefits would allow states to design an effective curriculum.

Yet, we have natural “experiments” in states all the time, where school systems implement new mandates for courses that must be taught–and tested–before a student can graduate. At least 2 states, Georgia and Texas, did so in 2007. Thanks to data from the Federal reserve, my CFS [] colleagues Carly Urban [ ] and Max Schmeiser [ ] were able to obtain a sample of credit records for people in these states and nearby states (New Mexico and Florida–both states with no change in financial education mandates for high school graduation).

We then compared the changes in credit scores and loan delinquencies in states after implementation of the mandate to the changes in comparable states that did not pass mandates. Both GA and TX implemented well-documented requirements and testing, so we are confident students who graduated after 2007 were exposed, at least on average, to more financial education. Overall, we find that if a rigorous financial education program is carefully implemented in schools, it can improve the credit scores and lower the probability of delinquency for young adults. In Georgia, graduates after the new education mandates have credit scores 11 points higher and 30 day delinquencies are lower by 4.2 percent. In Texas, graduates after the mandate have credit scores over 31.7 points higher and lower 90-day delinquency rates by 6 percent, a relative decrease in delinquency rate of 33 percent (view full report: ).

All young people have lower credit scores—they are learning by experience. And, according to our data, nearly a quarter of young people are 30 or more days behind on at least one account. Yet, payments have big effects on the credit score of someone with a brief credit history and therefore, avoiding missed payments can have real long run effects.

More work needs to be done to understand what forms of education best benefit young people, if starting earlier has larger effects, and if less intense requirements might result in similarly sized benefits. We still do not know how well these effects will persist into later adulthood—but formal education may jump start trial and error learning that young adults often experience in credit markets.

POSTED: April 15, 2015 | BY: Daniel Thompson | TAGS: , , , ,

Increasing Financial Literacy to Address the Student Loan Debt Crisis

April 9 150x150 Increasing Financial Literacy to Address the Student Loan Debt Crisis

By: United States Senator Jack Reed (D-RI)

April is an exciting time for high school seniors. Graduation is just around the corner and college acceptance letters are rolling in, and with them an overwhelming sense of possibility and anticipation for students, along with a measure of joy and worry for parents.

Getting into college is an admirable achievement, but paying for college is a long-term commitment.

Indeed, according to the Project on Student Debt, 71% of college seniors who graduated last year had some form of student loans to pay back, with an average of $29,400 per borrower. Read more…

POSTED: April 9, 2014 | BY: Annamarie Cerreta | TAGS: , , , , , , , , , ,

Student Loan Debt: The Importance of Early Financial Education

ClearPoint logo1 Student Loan Debt: The Importance of Early Financial EducationBy Thomas Bright, Marketing and Web Content Writer, ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions.

Today, our nation’s students are faced with an increasing number of financial decisions and are given a decreasing margin for error. Without access to the right kind of information, these students may run into very serious financial problems. As the adults in the room, the parents and educators, we are left to find a solution. An education-based solution, one that teaches financial literacy as an experience and prepares students for all the firsts they will encounter, could be the answer we have been looking for. Read more…

POSTED: April 25, 2013 | BY: admin | TAGS: , , , , , , ,

Seven Things Every College Student Should Know About Personal Finance

Christian Ackmann 218x300 Seven Things Every College Student Should Know About Personal FinanceBy Christian Ackmann, Economics concentrator at Brown University; Winner of the 2012 National Personal Finance Challenge.

You would be surprised to know the number of college students who don’t know how build their credit history, view their account balances, or even write a check.  College is usually the first time that students acquire independence, yet some students remain dependent on their parents’ financial support and advice.  Proper financial education in high school is necessary to gain financial independence in college.  During my first year of college, I have seen many financial mistakes made by my fellow students.  Here are some of the things I believe every college student should know about personal finance to make intelligent financial decisions.

1.  Credit
When I asked my fellow classmates which financial topics they wished they knew more about, the unanimous answer was credit.  For many college students, credit cards are a thing of mystery.  They are magical pieces of plastic that somehow pay for pizza and gasoline using money from their parents.  The first step to establishing a solid credit history is understanding how credit works.  Once students understand the importance of credit, it can be very helpful to have a credit card in the student’s name (not the parent’s name) to encourage responsibility.  Paying the credit card bill in full each month is an easy way to build a good credit history, not to mention the perks that many cards offer, such as cash back or air miles (which are especially applicable to college students living away from home). Read more…

POSTED: April 20, 2013 | BY: admin | TAGS: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

10 Ways to Save $100 During America Saves Week

By Meg Favreau, Senior Editor of personal finance blog Wise Bread.

Money is like a cake. When you get that delicious dessert, it can be tempting to eat it all at once. But if you do, you’ll end up with a stomachache, that sugarcoated feeling on your teeth, and perhaps most importantly – no cake for later.

Similarly, if you spend all of your money, you’ll probably end up regretting your splurges – and wishing you had some funds sitting in the bank.

Often, savings strategies are obvious – you set a big piece of cake aside, and it’s there waiting for you. But sometimes, it’s the little things that make that cake disappear. I’m reminded of the time my childhood friend Mike held a cake on his lap while we were driving home. He took fingerful after fingerful of frosting – and when we got home, Mike discovered that he had completely defrosted the cake without realizing it. Read more…

POSTED: February 26, 2013 | BY: admin | TAGS: , , , , ,

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