Champlain College’s Center for Financial Literacy (the Center) is committed to improving the personal finance knowledge of our nation’s K–12 and college students, teachers and adults.
Established in 2010 in direct response to the recent financial crisis, the Center’s programs have been created to increase knowledge of money matters in classrooms across the nation; ensure college students graduate with the skills to make sound decisions about spending, credit, debt and investments; and help adults navigate difficult financial situations like buying a home and saving for retirement.
The Center for Financial Literacy is a partnership among several financial institutions, non-profit entities and governmental agencies. The Center also advocates for more financial education opportunities at the local, state and national level.
The Center has developed innovative graduate level training for K–12 teachers designed to give them the confidence, skills and curriculum tools to teach personal finance in their classrooms. This teacher training program was created in partnership with the Jump$tart Coalition’s Teacher Training Alliance Program. The Center also participated in a national pilot project and study that shows how educators receiving this type of training dramatically improve their confidence when teaching personal finance, and how this also results in positive behavioral changes by the educators in their own personal lives. The Center has followed some of the educators that have completed this training into their high school classrooms to measure their impact on the knowledge and behaviors of students that take a half-year course (or its equivalent) in personal finance. In addition, the Center has measured the knowledge and behaviors of students that have not taken a personal finance course. Those findings will be released with the National Endowment of Financial Education prior to the end of 2015.
The Center’s teacher training initiatives and Champlain College’s undergraduate student training programs were recognized by the White House in a May 2012 report. The Center has also been recognized as a source of useful information and curriculum tools by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in its 2015 report “Advancing K–12 Financial Education: A Guide for Policymakers”. The Center has partnered with MarketWatch on a “Money for Life” series of videos geared toward giving sound financial advice to Millennials. The Center established a Vermont Financial Literacy Task Force that issued its final report in December 2014 which has so far resulted in two laws being passed by the state of Vermont in support of financial literacy. The Center is known throughout the country for its National Report Card on State Efforts to Improve Financial Literacy in High Schools. The Center also offers an award-winning game for middle and high school students, called Awesome Island, that is designed to help educators introduce financial literacy concepts into the classroom in a fun and engaging way. The Center has partnered with a third-party assessment creation firm, which has been involved with the creation of both major assessments being used in Common Core states, to produce a high school financial literacy assessment examination. After two years of work, the assessment questions are complete. Once funding is obtained, the Center will have these assessment questions reviewed by an independent, nationally regarded, psychometric firm that will conduct a multi-state field test and validation study. Once this research is complete, the Center plans to make available a high-quality, scientifically validated test that can be used by high schools and post-secondary education institutions. In the long term, it is our hope that with a strategic sponsor, the Center will be able to offer this exam free of charge to states and local school districts.
The Center is also proud to be a partner in a program that requires all Champlain College undergraduate students to participate in educational opportunities designed to give them financial sophistication prior to graduation. Champlain is one of the few colleges that require students to take such personal finance training.
For more information on the Center, click here: champlain.edu/centers-of-excellence/center-for-financial-literacy.