EverFi and CFPB

EverFi and CFPB Present Tips for Strengthening Financial Education Curriculum

Family Financial Capability White PaperNew EverFi research finds that 9 out of 10 parents are talking to their kids about money, but fewer than half of parents feel well prepared to have these conversations.

While parental education is an important piece of the equation, schools-based financial education is critical to filling in the gaps and ultimately preparing students for the decisions they’ll need to make as adults. But for many educators, the challenge of selecting the right financial education curriculum for their students can feel daunting, with a wide range of providers and few guidelines for how to identify the most promising programs.

To address this challenge, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has developed the Youth Financial Education Curriculum Review Tool, a resource for those who make decisions about educating today’s students. The tool provides an evidence-based framework for reviewing and comparing financial education curricula across four key dimensions: Content, Quality, Utility and Efficacy.

Earlier this spring, the CFPB hosted a webinar to unveil the curriculum review tool and invited EverFi to share how we’re using it to assess our K-12 financial education curricula. We were proud to report that our courses performed exceptionally well, receiving the highest possible score on the Content and Quality metrics, and strong results across other key dimensions.

For a recap of how EverFi’s K-12 courses performed,  view the full CFPB webinar recording: Evidence-Based Insights: Tips for Strengthening Financial Education Curriculum (or view a shorter recap here).

CFPB Webinar Thumbnail

The Curriculum Review Tool has also proven a valuable resource in helping inform future course improvements. For example, we are building supplemental materials to help teachers adapt lessons for students with cognitive or intellectual disabilities and expanding support for multilingual implementation.

On #FinHealthMatters Day, let’s focus on developing financial education solutions that will truly move the needle for students and families nationwide. We’re grateful to the CFPB for putting a stake in the ground and creating a yardstick by which we can measure programs – and progress – in the field.

Student Blog Contest Winner

Our final student blog post of the 2015-2016 school year comes from middle schooler Eowyn M of Maine. Eowyn writes that the Vault – Understanding Money™ course taught her to make good financial decisions now, in order to help her achieve her dreams in the future. Thank you, Eowyn, for sharing your story with us!

Student: Eowyn M
Teacher: Haley Harwood
School: Westbrook Middle School
State: Maine
Sponsor: MassMutual Foundation

Vault helped me figure out how to achieve my dream. My dream is to own my own animal shelter. I plan to buy a house, and have the animal shelter on the first floor, and my living space on the second floor. I would only take hurt animals and lost animals in my shelter because it’s not fair to take animals out of their habitat. Take lizard for example. That lizard would be better off with his family in the wild. Maybe we wouldn’t feed him right or he wouldn’t be happy and would die of depression, loneliness, or anxiety. All those things we would have to consider in my animal shelter.

Vault helped me realize how I plan to run my business when I grow up. It helped me look at it a different way, and see how running your own business isn’t as easy as it sounds. Vault helped me with knowing good ways to save and spend my money. Like putting aside some cash to save for a business or college in the future. I plan to go to the University of New England for college. Vault also helped me with knowing which decisions are smart, and which decisions weren’t. Vault also helped me out by telling me what things are needs and what are wants. That will really come in handy when I start to think about buying a house for the shelter. I will need to be really responsible with my money. 

Because of Vault, I went home and asked my mom to set up a savings account for my animal shelter and college and we did! Now whenever I receive money, I put it in my savings account to use it to help me with my future in taking care of animals.

Stop Elder Abuse

Recognizing World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.  And while it’s a sunny June day here in Washington DC, the topic of Elder Financial Exploitation is a forecast of some very rough weather ahead.

The problem of financial exploitation of seniors is scary, and is getting scarier.  Today, there are 40 million Americans over the age of 65 — the largest in history, and the number will grow over the next ten years. According to the True Link Report on Elder Abuse, up to $36 billion (with a “b”) is lost by seniors in various forms of financial exploitation, and $17 billion of that is done through deceptive-but-legal tactics that are designed to promote financial mistakes by seniors.  Also, about half of the exploitation happens by other family members, which is disturbing and depressing.  The generation that is being scammed is especially vulnerable, since it is a polite generation (many do not want to hang up on phone scammers); trusting people (may fall prey to internet scams); and sometimes cognitively impaired (which can make someone especially helpless).  Sadly, there are literally call centers that are set up to scam seniors out of money, which can end up in horrifying results.

The CFPB recently posted guidelines and a report for financial institutions to help fight this problem.  The webinar they hosted on May 25 was a very helpful walkthrough of these guidelines.  Other government institutions are also paying more attention to this problem. It is clear to me that financial institutions are going to be a key defense for combating this problem.  However, not all financial institutions have quality resources available to them for their employees, older customers/members, and for adult caregivers of the elderly.  Many employees of financial institutions end up having three jobs: being a teller, a social worker, and a family counselor.  It is a lot to ask of them.

We are EverFi are working hard on this problem right now. Given the size and scope of this complex issue, it is clear that there will not be one single solution that eradicates this issue, but our goal is to make a big dent in it.  Just like our programs for adult financial education, we are going to partner with financial institutions, help them on the front lines, and get them the tools and resources they need.  I am so proud that we are taking on this terrifying, growing, and very personal issue.

To ‘celebrate’ World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, please take time to spread the word about Elder Financial Exploitation. Know that the storm is coming.  But also know that EverFi will be there to help you weather it.

Student Blog Contest Winner

Today we’re featuring a guest post from Michigan student Eric C who shares how the Ignition – Digital Literacy and Responsibility™ course taught him to think critically about the image he portrays of himself on the Internet. Congrats to Eric for being one of our student blog contest winners!

Student: Eric C
Teacher: Anthony Wright
School: Sterling Heights Senior High School
State: Michigan
Sponsor: NHL, NHLPA

With the ever increasing significance of technology in our daily lives, what we do online is making a bigger impact on our futures. The EverFi program has taught me about the potential consequences my choices may cause, through the engaging and interactive Ignition program.

For a while now, I’ve known that social media and text messaging can be a cause of controversy, especially when it comes to viral trends. However, I didn’t realize how quickly something as harmless as a picture or video could be spread to a larger audience, many of whom may be critical of the contents. I already knew that I could potentially hurt my chances of getting a job in the future, but I didn’t know the true scope of how far the damage would go.

After completing the Ignition course, I found myself with the challenge of deciding whether to post a risky status update online or not. At the time, it seemed like no harm would come from it, as most teenagers would do. However, I realized that the language and content of the message would be painting a less than ideal image of myself on the Internet. Because future employers and educational establishments will be able to see that, I decided against posting that status. Afterwards, I went back and edited all of my social media profiles, removing any questionable content, leaving behind a clean image of who I am and what I stand for.

Losing Hope for Prevention in the Greek Community? Not So Fast.

A recent research study that examined alcohol interventions targeting fraternity and sorority members has led to several news stories, many of which have over-sensationalized headlines, none of which outline the limitations of the study. While the study has several limitations you can read about here, it does highlight that many prevention efforts directed towards fraternity and sorority members do not reflect the evidence base or sound prevention theory. As suggested in the study, most programming directed at fraternity and sorority members has consisted of one-off trainings that are not part of a larger comprehensive prevention plan. When this type of programming fails, it only reinforces the negative perceptions of the Greek system that nothing can be done about these challenges.

To help prevention specialists who work with Greek organizations leverage the research literature and prevention best practice, EverFi created a guidebook titled “Leveraging Values and Challenging Misconceptions – Prevention Guidelines for Fraternities and Sororities.” This resource demonstrates there is an opportunity to leverage the positive attitudes and the values of these organizations to promote healthy behavior.

Despite the negative media attention fraternity and sorority organizations often receive, becoming a member of a Greek organization is a rewarding and enriching experience for millions of American college students. The benefits of joining a Greek organization are well documented: Greek members are more likely to enjoy their overall college experience, more likely to persist from their first to second year in college, and more likely to graduate than their non-Greek peers. These students also gain leadership experience, build professional networks, and give back to their community.

However, there is also substantial research indicating that members of Greek organizations are more likely to misuse alcohol, use illicit substances, and either perpetrate or become victims of relationship violence and sexual assault. While high-risk alcohol use, sexual violence, and hazing create visible incidents that draw negative attention and publicity to the Greek community, EverFi’s research indicates that these unhealthy behaviors represent a relatively small percentage of fraternity and sorority students.

Rather than consider prevention efforts with the Greek community to be a lost cause as media headlines suggest, institutions and organizations should rethink prevention within the Greek community. By educating students to speak out and empowering them to intervene against problematic behavior, prevention specialists are leveraging the healthy norms and values that most fraternity and sorority members endorse. In addition to giving the students a voice, administrators should apply prevention practices informed by data gathered from individual chapters and institutions, as well as sound behavioral theory and prevention science. EverFi’s guidebook provides practitioners a foundation to build upon and support the development of effective prevention efforts targeting fraternity and sorority members.