From understanding the student loan process to managing a budget, learning about personal finance is critical for future college students. Although 65% of college students think they have good or excellent money management skills, 83% would like to know more, especially about budgeting and savings.

Schools can build students' knowledge and experience with money by incorporating applicable and experiential financial education into the curriculum. For example, at La Pine Senior High School, juniors cover personal finance as part of a class on college and careers, just before the college financial aid and budgeting process. Lorna Byrne Middle School in Cave Junction blends financial education with career exploration with Junior Achievement's Finance Park curriculum and hands-on simulation.

Another technique to build students' financial success is simply to encourage students to take more math (which is also shown to positively impact college success). Research shows that requiring high schoolers to take more math leads to better credit and higher returns on investment.

Use the sample resources below to help students of any age understand personal finance.

Sample Resources for Financial Literacy

  • Financial Awareness Basics has printable flyers that teach the basics of financial awareness for college and life including understanding student loans.
  • Financial Beginnings offers free financial literacy workshops conducted by trained volunteers for elementary, middle and high school students in Oregon. Hands-on activities cover age-appropriate topics from setting and managing a budget, to the good and bad kinds of credit.
  • Financial Workshop Kits are free workshops and resources to help teach money management skills focusing on youth development, service learning, paying for college, and preparing for life after college.
  • HandsOnBanking.org is a free, fun, and engaging financial program from Wells Fargo. Help students of any age build a brighter financial future, with self-paced online programs in English and Spanish that includes learning the investment of higher education and how to pay for it.
  • High School Financial Planning Program focuses on the personal financial skills for pre-teens, teens and young adults. This curriculum consists of six modules with student guides, lesson plans, and more.
  • Junior Achievement is a nonprofit organization that partners with schools and businesses to provide business, economics and life-skills programming for youth. Their mission is to ensure young people are empowered to succeed in a global economy.
  • Money Smart for Young Adults curriculum helps youth ages 12-20 learn the basics of handling their money and finances, including how to create positive relationships with financial institutions. Eight modules include a fully scripted instructor guide, participant guide, and overhead slides.