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Results of New Study Reveal the Importance of Multiple Financial Education Interventions

April 2nd, 2024

Findings from year two of the three-year study show increases in financial knowledge, self-efficacy, behaviors, and communication among students

Charleston, SC and Springfield, MA - EVERFI® from Blackbaud® and the MassMutual Foundation, have announced the Year 2 findings of a three-year, longitudinal study of financial capability among adolescents. The first-of-its-kind study is tracking the financial knowledge, intended financial behaviors, and self-efficacy in fundamental financial skills of participants as they complete up to six different EVERFI financial education courses, including FutureSmart, a financial education program sponsored by the MassMutual Foundation.

The second-year data, collected during the 2022-23 school year, provided solid empirical evidence that multiple interventions are more effective than a standalone course in increasing knowledge, self-efficacy, and intended behaviors.

Key findings from Year 2 include:

  • The financial self-efficacy and behavior improvement made by students who took two courses in Year 1 still existed months later, even when no reinforcement courses were taken. Conversely, the improvement of students who took only one course in Year 1 diminished.
  • After taking Money Moves: Modern Banking & Identity Protection®, a course focusing on digital banking and peer-to-peer payment apps, students’ communications with their parents on financial topics significantly increased.
  • After taking Marketplaces, a course on investing basics, students’ financial knowledge test score increased.
  • Students who took both Money Moves and Marketplaces maintained their increased financial self-efficacy and planned behavior.

“By the time adolescents reach middle school, they have already developed the capacity to understand complex economic concepts, yet most financial education classes don’t start until high school,” said Dennis Duquette, president, MassMutual Foundation. “This research shows that early intervention is critical for ensuring students are receiving the education at the right time in their development, and that delivering an engaging learning experience over a consistent period of time has a significant impact on knowledge, behaviors, and communication. We are inspired by the results we’ve seen so far and are eagerly awaiting Year 3 results.”

The Year 2 findings build on findings from Year 1 which found that both the middle-school level FutureSmart and high-school level EVERFI financial courses significantly improved students’ financial knowledge and financial self-efficacy. FutureSmart, in particular, significantly increased the frequency of desirable financial behaviors including saving money, tracking monthly expenses, spending within a budget, and investing for a long-term financial goal. Additionally, EVERFI further improved students’ financial self-efficacy after completing FutureSmart and helped maintain the positive effects of FutureSmart on students’ financial behaviors.

“We teach mathematics on a continuum starting at a young age; we should be teaching financial education the same way, by helping students build upon important financial concepts each year,” said Ray Martinez, co-founder and president, EVERFI from Blackbaud. “While it is encouraging to see that more states are starting to mandate financial education, a one-off course isn’t enough to have a long-lasting impact. This ground-breaking study takes a longitudinal view, and so far, it’s telling us that we need to rethink how we are approaching personal financial education and create scaffolded learning experiences that reinforce and strengthen students’ financial capability to achieve true financial wellness.”

The three-year study began in fall 2021 when students completed an initial survey to gauge baseline financial knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. This baseline survey revealed that students in general had low levels of financial knowledge, lacked confidence in their financial skills and did not frequently engage in healthy financial behaviors. Students then completed EVERFI’s financial education courses every 2-3 months and were surveyed within two weeks of completing each course. Year 3 of the study is currently underway and will conclude in fall 2024.

 

About EVERFI from Blackbaud
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-Service™ 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 acquired EVERFI in December 2021. To learn more about EVERFI, please visit everfi.com or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or X/Twitter @EVERFI.

 

About the MassMutual Foundation
The MassMutual Foundation, Inc. is a dedicated corporate foundation established by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). The MassMutual Foundation fuels initiatives that increase financial resilience within communities served by the company and fosters a culture of community engagement for MassMutual’s employees as well as affiliated financial professionals. In support of this mission, the Foundation invests in programs that help people access resources needed to earn, protect, and help build their financial capability and thrive. The Foundation also supports community vitality efforts where MassMutual operates. To learn more about the MassMutual Foundation, please visit www.massmutual.com/foundation.