EVERFI, Inc., the leading social impact education innovator, today released new survey results revealing the overwhelming need for financial literacy education in K-12 schools. Consistent with prior surveys, a new report details that most high school juniors and seniors still do not feel prepared to manage basic financial basic tasks like evaluating financial products, managing a bank account, or making major financial decisions.
The students completed the survey during the 2021-22 school year, prior to their participation and completion of EVERFI financial courses. Similar to last year’s findings, the study found that students are not equipped to make the financial decisions that lie ahead of them as they complete high school and move into adulthood.
Survey results indicate that fewer than a third of high school upperclassmen (30 percent) felt prepared to compare financial institutions and select one that best meets their needs, down slightly from 32 percent last year. Additionally, only 33 percent of students reported feeling unprepared to manage their credit over time. In contrast, three-quarters of respondents agreed that they should track monthly expenses (75 percent) and spend within their budget (77 percent), but only half agreed that they feel prepared to set up a budget to manage saving and spending.
“Feeling prepared to make sound financial decisions is critical to developing financial capability and setting yourself on the path to financial wellness,” said Ray Martinez, president and co-founder of EVERI. “The gap between students understanding what they should do and having the confidence to do it makes clear the need for better financial education, family conversations, and opportunities for practicing skills to move the needle on young people’s financial capability.”
While the high school students surveyed reported feeling more comfortable with modern banking applications than they did with more foundational financial concepts, only 48 percent use a bank or credit union’s online portal or mobile app. There is also considerable room for improvement as only half of young people reported that they felt prepared to recognize money-related scams (54 percent), protect their financial information online (53 percent), or safely use peer-to-peer payment apps to send or receive money online (50 percent).
Additionally, the majority of high school juniors and seniors surveyed reported that they plan to attend a two- or four-year college after high school. Even among those who planned to go to college, fewer than half (40 percent) said that they felt prepared to figure out the full costs of the school they may attend. While more students (44 percent) felt they were prepared to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), less than a third (31 percent) felt prepared to read and understand the terms of those loans. Among all topics surveyed, and for the second year in a row, the lowest levels of preparedness reported were related to understanding what loan payments would be after college (25 percent), and developing a plan for repaying loans (26 percent), both down two percentage points from the prior year.
“Lacking these types of financial skills makes students vulnerable to costly financial mistakes or missed opportunities as they transition to adulthood,” said Martinez. “Given the uncertainty around student loan forgiveness and the evolution of federal student loan programs, becoming more knowledgeable about and comfortable with these decisions would serve young people well.”
Across the country, there’s growing agreement on the need to teach financial literacy in our nation’s K-12 schools, but currently, only 19 states require a financial education course to be taken before graduating from high school. Given the critical role of skill and confidence in building financial well-being, the low levels of preparedness among young people could be a sign of trouble if proper financial education is not provided as students finish high school and move toward financial independence.
For more than 15 years, EVERFI has been bringing financial literacy education to millions of K-12 students across North America. To learn more about EVERFI’s financial literacy offerings, or to get involved in bringing financial education to your community, visit our website. The full 2023 report can be found here.
About the Surveys
This report is based on survey responses from students who participated in one of three EVERFI financial education courses during the 2020-2021 school year or the 2021-2022 school year. These surveys were administered prior to the courses, and so reflect students’ attitudes and beliefs prior to participating in financial education. The number of high school juniors and seniors surveyed by course was: Financial Literacy 332,697 in 2020-2021 and 377,656 in 2021-2022; Modern Banking & Identity Protection: 26,377 in 2020-2021 and 61,702 in 2021-2022; and Financing Higher Education: 25,634 in 2020-2021 and 36,354 in 2021-2022.
EVERFI from Blackbaud (NASDAQ: BLKB) is an international technology company driving social impact through education to address the most challenging issues affecting society ranging from financial wellness to mental health to workplace conduct and other critical topics. Founded in 2008, EVERFI’s Impact-as-a-ServiceTM solution and digital educational content have reached more than 45 million learners globally. In 2020, the company was recognized as one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company and was featured on Fortune Magazine’s Impact 20 List. The company was also named to the 2021 GSV EdTech 150, a list of the most transformative growth companies in digital learning. Blackbaud, the leading provider of software for powering social impact, acquired EVERFI in December 2021. To learn more about EVERFI, please visit everfi.com or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Twitter @EVERFI.
Except for historical information, all of the statements, expectations, and assumptions contained in this news release are forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties, including statements regarding expected benefits of products and product features. Although Blackbaud attempts to be accurate in making these forward-looking statements, it is possible that future circumstances might differ from the assumptions on which such statements are based. In addition, other important factors that could cause results to differ materially include the following: general economic risks and the other risk factors occasionally set forth in the SEC filings for Blackbaud, of which free copies are available at www.sec.gov or upon request from Blackbaud’s investor relations department. All Blackbaud product names appearing herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of Blackbaud, Inc.