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NEFE, CSREES Continue to Advance Youth Financial Education

Organizations Renew Longstanding Partnership

CSREES: Jennifer Martin, (202) 720-8188
NEFE: Nan S. Mead, (303) 224-3507

August 10, 2006

The USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES) and the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) signed a new five-year agreement to cooperatively promote financial education to high school students through the High School Financial Planning Program (HSFPP).

“Since 1991, measurable behavior change by students has sustained the partnership between NEFE and CSREES to revise, deliver and evaluate the HSFPP,” said Jane Schuchardt, national program leader in CSREES’s Economic and Community Systems unit. “Major, national partnerships are critical for scaling up demand among local teachers and other youth-serving professionals to ensure that young people learn how to manage the money they earn.”

The High School Financial Planning Program is a six-unit curriculum that teaches the basics of money management to young people at a time when they are developing habits and attitudes about money that will influence them for the rest of their lives. This program is available at no cost to all high schools throughout the country.

The new agreement begins the two organization’s 15th year of providing the HSFPP to thousands of schools throughout the U.S.

“We are extremely pleased to continue our work with the Cooperative Extension Service to improve the financial well-being of young adults throughout America,” said Ted Beck, president and CEO of NEFE. “This relationship is one of the best examples of a successful partnership in the financial services industry.

In addition to providing the curriculum, NEFE trains educators to deliver the material to teens. CSREES not only actively promotes the HSFPP to local schools throughout the country, but also plays a vital role in curriculum development, evaluation and training of thousands of educators on how to teach the HSFPP. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA), and America’s Credit Unions, also partner with NEFE and CSREES in the distribution of the HSFPP.

A nationwide evaluation of the program in 2003, found that the HSFPP is highly effective in improving the personal finance knowledge, behavior and confidence of teens. Upon completing the curriculum, students reported an increase of 60 percent in their knowledge of key areas covered by the HSFPP.

Since the inception of the NEFE High School Financial Planning Program, more than 4.4 million workbooks have been distributed in schools across all 50 states. In 2005 alone, more than 630,000 student guides were circulated to schools throughout the country.

“This partnership has been a key factor in growing the HSFPP into its position as a leader in financial education for teens,” said John Parfrey, director of the NEFE High School Financial Planning Program. “CSREES’s deep strengths in the areas of research and education, along with their strong commitment to financial literacy for all Americans, aligns them perfectly with NEFE’s own mission. Because of this, millions of high school students are better positioned to develop a strong financial future.”

The HSFPP is currently undergoing a revision scheduled to be completed in 2007. The updated program will offer a robust Web-based component containing additional tools, content and learning experiences for both students and teachers.

For more information, visit www.nefe.org and click on the Education Programs section. The National Endowment for Financial Education is an independent, nonprofit foundation committed to educating Americans about personal finance and empowering them to make positive and sound decisions to reach financial goals.

For more information on the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and America’s Credit Unions, visit http://www.cuna.org.

CSREES advances knowledge for agriculture, the environment, human health and well-being, and communities by supporting research, education, and extension programs in the Land-Grant University System and other partner organizations. For more information, visit http://www.csrees.usda.gov.