|Executive Summary prepared by Dara Duguay,
former Executive Director of Jump$tart)
Questionnaire for Seniors Reveals Moderate Gains
- April 1, 2004 - A nationwide survey conducted for the
Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy
reveals that for the first time since 1997, high school
students are reversing declining scores and are
demonstrating increased aptitude and ability to manage
financial Resources such as credit cards, insurance,
retirement funds and savings accounts.
comprehensive survey of more than 4,000 high school
students in 33 states measured 12th graders' level of
knowledge of personal finance basics, and compared the
results with those from similar surveys conducted in 2002,
2000 and 1997. On average, students who participated in
the 2004 survey answered 52.3 percent of the questions
year's score is up from 50.2 percent in 2002 and 51.9
percent in 2000.
with modest gains in financial literacy among high school
seniors, students did not match 1997 aptitude levels when
57.3 percent of students answered their questions
year, 65.5 percent of students failed the exam and 6.1
percent scored a C or better. A
failing grade was based upon a typical scale used by many
public schools around the nation (90-100%=A, 80-89%=B,
researcher for all four studies was Lewis Mandell, Ph.D.,
professor of finance and managerial economics at the
University of Buffalo School of Management.
am encouraged that the survey results show the downward
trend reversing among high school seniors as they become
more aware of the need for financial literacy in a
competitive job market,' said Professor Mandell. 'If
parents, educators and school administrators continue to
work together and emphasize the need for sound money
management skills, we will likely see scores improve in
the years ahead,' he added.
in teaching financial literacy in public schools surged
this year with 24 state bills, resolutions and
proclamations introduced in the first quarter of 2004
alone,' said Dara Duguay, executive director of the
national Jump$tart Coalition. 'Congress also
established a new Financial Literacy and Education
Commission to coordinate federal agencies' financial
education efforts, so we hope this added emphasis on the
need for Americans to become financially literate will
translate into increased interest in our nation's
schools,' she added.
The questionnaire also revealed a positive impact on
students attending required money management courses in
high school. Of those students who took a full semester of
money management courses, the students attending required
classes did better (54.1 percent) than those where it was
required only for some students (50.6
percent) and those where money management classes
were electives (52.7 percent).
Lynch sponsored this survey because we believe, like the
Jumpstart Coalition, that more should be done to measure,
document and improve youth financial literacy. As
financial products and choices for America's youth
continue to increase, so should the knowledge and learning
that enables them to make important life decisions."
said FVP Eddy Bayardelle, head of Global Philanthropy at
Merrill Lynch. "The Jumpstart Coalition has
articulated the need, now it's time for the rest of us
reach out and be part of the solution."
findings from the 2004 survey include:
involvement plays a great role in the financial education
and literacy of young people, as the vast majority of
students say they are learning most of their money
management skills at home. Of the students surveyed, 58.3
percent said skills are learned at home, verses 19.5
percent of students who said they learn such skills at
school, and 17.6 percent from experience.
parents with a higher education helped. Of the students
whose parents have college degrees, 55.4 percent answered
the questions correctly, versus 44.6 percent of the
students whose parents did not finish high school.
are planning to continue their education did better than
those who aren't. The test results show that 55.0
percent of self-described, college-bound seniors answered
the questions correctly, versus 41.9 percent of the
students who plan no further education.
questions were divided into four categories: income, money
management, saving and spending.
High school seniors did a far better job of
correctly answering questions about income (62.9 percent)
and spending (55.4 percent) than they did about money
management (45.4 percent) and saving (41.0 percent).
The percentage of students who do not use a credit card was 68.2 percent
(versus 67.8 percent in 2002, 69.1 percent in 2000, and
70.8 percent in 1997).
Eleven point four percent use their own card
(versus 12.1 percent in 2002, 9.2 percent in 2000 and 7.7
percent in 1997). In
addition, 15.7 percent use their parents' card (versus
15.4 percent in 2002, 18.3 percent in 2000, 17.2 percent
in 1997) and 4.8 percent use both their own and their
parents (versus 4.7 percent in 2002, 2.8 percent in 2000,
4 percent in 1997). Over
one third (43.3 percent) of the 2004 students have an ATM
card, compared with 35.9 percent in 2002, 31 percent in
2000, and 31.5 percent in 1997.
Nearly 78 percent of the students have a savings and/or checking account
with a bank. The
22.1 percent of the students without any bank account
scored lower (47.4 percent) than those who have a savings
account (53.3 percent), a checking account (50.2 percent),
and both savings and checking accounts (55.5 percent).
There was virtually no difference in performance by gender -- with 52.4
percent of male students answering the questions correctly
percent of female students with correct answers.
The average score for Caucasian students was 55.5
percent, compared with 48.3
percent for Asian Americans, 48.3
percent for Hispanics, 44.0
percent for African Americans and 46.7
percent for Native Americans.
Students from the Northeast scored higher (56.5
percent) than students from the West (52.2 percent), the
Midwest (52.4 percent), and the South (49.9 percent).
The Jump$tart survey,
conducted this past December, January and February,
consisted of a written 45-minute examination administered
to 4,074 12th graders in 215 schools across the United
States. The survey's underwriter was Merrill Lynch.
copy of the survey questionnaire is posted on the
coalition's Web site at www.jumpstart.org
in the 'Downloads' section.
Reporters interested in interviewing Dr. Mandell
may contact him at (716) 573-6619.
To schedule an interview with a Jump$tart
spokesperson, please contact Kristy Thomas at (703)
683-5004 x. 136 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy is a
nonprofit organization that seeks to improve the personal
financial literacy of young adults by developing,
disseminating, and encouraging the use of standards for
grades K-12; and by promoting personal finance education
at home and in school. Jump$tart's mission is
supported by 140 corporations, government agencies,
education associations and nonprofit providers of
financial education across the United States. For
more information, visit www.jumpstart.org.
offers teacher training and guest speaker locators,
monthly mini-lessons, links to partner organizations, and
helpful tips on budgeting, saving, and investing.