When is 47.5% an acceptable test score?
Answer: When you are a high school senior taking a financial literacy test.
That isn’t exactly true…we don’t consider that an acceptable score, but that is the mean score for 6,856 high school seniors who took a national financial literacy test. Add to these numbers the following facts: nearly 30% of all high school seniors now use at least one credit card; 45% of college students have credit card debt; and college students graduate from college with an average of $10,000 – $25,000 in credit card debt and student loans. Can you see the ‘perfect storm’ forming?
Why do we care? This is our future employment pool. These test scores reflect a downward trend from 57% when the test was first provided in 1997.
Credit unions in Connecticut have decided to assist in providing our youth with tools to correct this literacy trend. Over the next year, each of our six Chapters, through the Connecticut Credit Union Solutions Foundation and REAL Solutions, is working to provide a Financial Reality Fair to Connecticut high school students.
The Financial Reality Fair is the culmination of classroom training related to financial literacy. The Fair provides an opportunity to work with a paycheck and learn how to budget to provide for the future. Students will identify the job they intend to have after school, and assist in identifying a beginning wage range. Fair volunteers will create a net pay after taxes, and provide a budget worksheet to instruct students on what monthly expenses they will face. The students will have to make decisions on living arrangements, food, transportation, utilities, clothing, luxury items, etc. They will be provided with credit scores which will be used to assist in approving or denying loans. At the end of the session they will sit with a financial counselor and review their financial profile.