Champlain Center for Financial Literacy meets $170K challenge

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Champlain Center for Financial Literacy meets $170K challenge

Fri, 02/23/2018 - 3:27pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Champlain College Center for Financial Literacy has received a $170,000 grant from a benefactor who wished to remain anonymous that meets a $132,000 challenge grant from Next Gen Personal Finance, a non-profit organization that connects educators and students with free financial literacy resources. "The $302,000 will be used to support the Center's successful graduate-level educator training program to give up to 151 high school teachers the confidence, skills, and curriculum tools to bring personal finance education into the classroom," explained John Pelletier, director of the Center for Financial Literacy (CFL).

Champlain's CFL is one of the few institutions in the nation that offers educators a three-credit graduate summer residency course in teaching financial literacy. Thirty-one teachers went through the course last summer and it is now funded through 2020.  The Summer Institute training sessions are free for educators who are chosen to attend. Teachers from Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Maine and Massachusetts that are interested in applying for a scholarship for the 2018 Summer Institute (June 25-29) should fill out the application here:"

The CFL’s most recent report card on the status of financial literacy education in America’s high schools reflects modest improvement thanks to the Center’s efforts to educate state legislatures and others about the urgent need to educate young people on how to use credit, save for retirement, invest wisely, and understand the many complicated financial decisions made in the average person's lifetime, says Pelletier.

"It's gratifying to see that financial literacy is slowly becoming more of a priority in the states and in our nation's capital. We know that financial illiteracy was one of the causes of the Great Recession. Clearly, personal finance should be right up there with reading, writing and arithmetic as a critical subject."

Pelletier also notes that studies demonstrate that financial literacy educational interventions in high school appear to have a positive impact on knowledge and measurable financial behaviors.

In January, Vermont Board of Education announced that it had unanimously approved JumpStart's national financial literacy standards for K-12 schools in Vermont, replacing less robust 17-year-old personal finance education standards.

“The Center for Financial Literacy has been working with many other advocates in our state to get this vote over many years. We are grateful for the focus being placed on making sure that Vermont’s K-12 students have access to financial literacy training in the classroom. But in order for this to truly be successful in Vermont--we must provide training on this topic to educators and provide them with the classroom tools that they need to have in order to succeed. This funding will help us achieve these goals,” Pelletier added.    

More than 125 educators in Vermont have already been trained to significantly improve personal finance education in schools across the state. The total impact is that more than 37,000 students will receive personal finance education by 2021 from these trained teachers, Pelletier explained.

Tim Ranzetta, founder of Next Gen Personal Finance (NGPF), says "Next Gen is pleased to have the opportunity to support John's outstanding work both in the state of Vermont and as an advocate on the national stage for financial literacy. We cannot imagine a better investment than to support the Champlain College Center for Financial Literacy given its proven track record in the professional development of financial educators."

The program costs approximately $2,000 per educator and includes five days of intensive financial literacy training, led by some 20 different personal finance experts for 40 hours of instruction plus five hours of project work. Room and board are included, along with a classroom toolkit. Participants will earn three graduate credits for successful completion of the course. The CFL also offers an online classroom resource for high school educators at

"The financial literacy boot camp for teachers covers saving and investing, credit reports and scores, credit and debt, managing risk, income, and careers -- in short, the financial knowledge needed to navigate daily life," Pelletier said.

This training has been recognized by the White House, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the FDIC and by President Obama's Advisory Council on Financial Capability. The Summer Institute teacher training program has also been the subject of two studies showing the direct impact of the instruction (see Research Report and CFL's Prepped for Success report).

He noted that the Center's research on the Summer Institute programming clearly shows the major impact that trained educators can have by improving their students' financial knowledge and behaviors. At the Champlain Summer Institute pilot that used this curriculum, teacher confidence levels rose from 39 percent before taking the course to 94 percent after the completion of the course, a 141 percent increase. Educators who take this training have huge impacts on the financial knowledge and behaviors of their students, Pelletier said.

Based on national survey data, high school students who received personal finance education by CFL-trained teachers had "high financial literacy," on par with older Generation Xers (age 35 to 49) and outperformed Millennials (age 18 to 34). And the effect doesn't stop there. Teachers reported positive material changes in their own lives and personal finance management as well.

The educational model for the financial literacy summer institutes was developed by the Jump$tart Coalition, the National Endowment for Financial Education, the Council for Economic Education, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Family Economics and Financial Education, Junior Achievement, the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of the Treasury.

The Center for Financial Literacy released its National Report Card on State Efforts to Improve Financial Literacy in High Schools in 2013, 2015 and 2017. The CFL’s 50-state 2016 National Report Card on Adult Financial Literacy, shows that adults in America earned just a C grade. More than three-quarters of adults live in states with poor grades.

"As a society, we need more training programs that increase the number of financially literate citizens who can make better and wiser financial decisions in their own lives," he noted. "Providing educators with the effective tools to teach our young people is a dramatic step forward toward that goal."​

About the Champlain College Center for Financial Literacy:

Established in 2010, Champlain College's Center for Financial Literacy is a nationally acclaimed, one-of-a-kind financial literacy program aimed at increasing knowledge of money matters in classrooms, ensuring that college students graduate with the skills to make sound decisions about spending, credit and investments, and helping adults navigate difficult financial situations like buying a home and saving for retirement. The Center advocates for more financial education opportunities at the local, state and national level and has launched a variety of programs aimed at increasing the personal finance sophistication of our citizens. Learn more at

About Next Gen Personal Finance

Founded in 2014 as a non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance (NGPF) believes that all young people deserve a free, engaging and high-quality financial education to enable them to thrive. NGPF offers high school and college educators the most comprehensive set of online resources that are up-to-date, customizable and curated from the best of the web (and FREE too!). From a full curriculum of 11 units and 65 lessons to supplementary materials, such as a Video Library, Assessment Bank (over 800 questions), and Project and Activity Banks, NGPF satisfies so many use cases. In fact, more than 5,000 teachers in all 50 states have come to rely on NGPF as their "one stop" for financial education resources. NGPF also serves the educator community through professional development offerings, including a Professional Learning Community (PLC) program, monthly webinars, conference workshops, weekly podcasts and a Summer Institute. For access to NGPF free resources, visit

About Champlain College

Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a small, not-for-profit, private college in Burlington, Vermont, with additional campuses in Montreal, Canada, and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain offers a traditional undergraduate experience from its beautiful campus overlooking Lake Champlain and over 90 residential undergraduate and online undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificates. Champlain's distinctive career-driven approach to higher education embodies the notion that true learning occurs when information and experience come together to create knowledge. Champlain College is included in the Princeton Review's The Best 382 Colleges: 2018 Edition. For the third year in a row, Champlain was named a "Most Innovative School" in the North by U.S. News & World Report's 2018 "America's Best Colleges," and an "A+ School for B Students" and is ranked in the top 100 Regional Universities of the North. Champlain is also featured in the Fiske Guide to Colleges for 2018 as one of the "best and most interesting schools" in the United States, Canada and Great Britain and is a 2018 College of Distinction. For more information, visit

Source: Champlain College 2.23.2018