The poverty cycle
  1. Continuing education after high school is no longer an option. Teens who do not earn a four-year college degree or, at least, a certification will be stuck in minimum-wage jobs and a life of poverty.
    • Without a high school education:
      • Chances of employment and earning potential are drastically reduced.
      • The cycle of poverty, economic crisis and its social and psychological fallout perpetuates.
      • As a result, trillions of dollars drain from the nation’s economy in services and lost opportunity. When this demographic group has babies and as available jobs increasingly require higher education and training, the burden on the national economy grows exponentially.


Percentage That Do Not Finish High School

By Ethnicity

High School Dropout Chart By Ethnicity

  • African American
  • Hispanic
  • American Indian
  • Caucasian
  • Asian/Pacific Islands

  1. Teens  from these demographic groups:
    • May lack the ability to do well in school and to secure jobs due to language and/or home environment.
    • Are more likely to drop out of school.

The high cost of college
  1. The cost of continuing education is arduous and rising  disproportionately, which ultimately costs the economy trillions of dollars.
Dropout Nation Times cover
  • As continuing education costs rise, high school dropouts rates “School Dropouts” also rise.
    • Teens who drop out do so because most of them believe high school does not apply to them since they cannot afford to continue their education after high school.
    • 3,000,000 American students drop out of high school every year (8,219 every day of the year)!
    • Dropouts from just one year, will drain the national economy more than $3 trillion dollars over their lifetime.
Graduate chained by debt
  • Many college students from low-income households cannot afford to complete their education.
  • Those that manage to graduate college are burdened with too much debt.
    • Today, 20-29 year-olds have an average debt of $45,000 (including student loans, cars, credit cards and/or a mortgage).
    • The average college graduate has $29,000 of student loan debt.
    • Student loans are at their highest default rates since 1999 and continue to rise.

Unemployment in United States

Highest Among Young Adults

Unemployment in US chart

  • All Ages
  • 18-29-Year-Olds
  • Recent College Graduates*

* Includes Underemployment and Unemployment

  1. College graduates face high unemployment.(In graph: 18-29-year-olds) 
    • 50% of recent college graduates are unemployed or underemployed.

Parents and teen on couch
  1. It is taking longer to become financially independent.
    • Despite the general consensus that there are legitimate contributing factors to the delay, young adults perceive their prolonged financial dependence as a failure, which can affect their psychological health, their ability to get a job and their financial independence.

Teen sad about never retiring
  1. To make matters worse, this generation of teens must save more than ever for retirement. Several developments are contributing to the rising cost of retirement.
    • Work-based pensions are obsolete.
    • Health care costs are rising disproportionately.
    • Longer life expectancy.
    • Parents may outlive their retirement savings so the cost of parents’ care becomes their responsibility.

F grade
  1. Teens lack personal finance knowledge.
    • 59.6% was the average score on a 2014 National Financial Literacy test taken by 2,500 students from 40 states.
    • Average scores on standardized financial literacy tests have not improved in 20 years.

Required Personal Finance Course in American High Schools

Demand vs. Supply

Demand vs. Supply of Financial Courses

  • Americans that want a personal finance course to be required in high school
  • States that require a personal finance course in high school
  1. Most American teens are not getting adequate personal finance education.
    • *-Surveys have found that 95% of Americans (including teens, high school teachers and partents of teens) want a course in personal finance to be required in high school. Only one-third of the states require a course (a recent improvement), and only six states require testing of students’ knowledge in personal finance.
    • 3.4 million graduated high school in 2014 without any personal finance education or without measuring if the personal finance education they did receive was effective or not.
    • 66% of the 3.4 million 2014 high school graduates in the U.S. graduated without a personal finance course.
    • The primary barrier is school budget limitations. Due to limited budgets, schools cannot afford to train or hire qualified teachers to teach personal finance.