The U.S. Department of Treasury and the U.S. Department of Education have officially launched the 2012 National Financial Capability Challenge. This year’s challenge begins on March 12, 2012 and runs through April 13, 2012.

 

What, exactly, is the National Financial Capability Challenge? According to the Treasury Department, “The National Financial Capability Challenge is an awards program designed to increase the financial knowledge and capability of high school aged youth across the United States so they can take control over their financial futures. It challenges high school teachers and other educators to teach the basics of personal finance to their students, and rewards students, educators, schools, and states for their participation and their success. Educators and top-scoring students will receive award certificates, and schools and states with the highest participation rates will earn special distinction.”

 

If high school students learn about the importance of financial responsibility at a young age, these students are more likely to be better stewards of their money once they are living independently. A solid basic understanding of personal finance isn’t just beneficial to the individual; it can have a positive effect on the nation’s economy as a whole.

 

The free program is open to high school educators and their students between the ages of 13 and 19. An educator toolkit is available with ready-made lesson plans to help prepare the students for the challenge exam. Once the students are ready it takes about 30 minutes for each student to complete the online exam. Last year, more than 84,000 students participated in the challenge and it would be great to see that number top six figures this year.

 

Educators interested in having their students participate in the free program can sign up now on the National Financial Capability Challenge website.