The Obama administration has re-launched its National Financial Capability Challenge for high school students to mark the back-to-school season.

The challenge is a voluntary online exam and classroom toolkit that helps educators teach high school students about saving, budgeting, investing, the safe use of credit, and other important skills critical to developing strong financial knowledge and capability.

"The recent financial crisis taught us an enduring lesson. Financial literacy is essential not only to the financial security of millions of American families, but also to the economic health of our nation as a whole," said Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner in a statement.


In addition to the Treasury Department, the Education Department is also involved in the initiative.

“Through the challenge, we’re encouraging schools and teachers across the country to help make sure their students have the tools they need to make smart financial decisions for themselves, their families, and their communities – whether about investing in higher education, or the many other choices these young people will face,” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a statement.

Educators can begin registering for the challenge at http://www.challenge.treas.gov/. In late fall, educators will be able to download a new and improved “Teacher Toolkit” with ready-to-use lesson plans to help teach their students about important financial concepts and prepare them for the online exam.

The online exam will take place between March 7 and April 8, 2011. Educators can administer the exam to their students at any time in that window. Educators and students who score in the top 20 percent nationally and those who are among the top scorers in their school will receive official award certificates.

More than 76,000 students and 2,500 educators in all 50 states participated in last school year's National Financial Capability Challenge. To build on that success, the Obama administration has set a goal of increasing participation for this school year by 15 percent to over 87,000 students and 2,800 educators. Recognizing that participation previously averaged only one teacher per school, the administration is urging each of last year’s participating educators to become ambassadors for financial education and recruit additional teachers to participate.


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