This April, H and R Block will be celebrating National Financial Literacy Month by awarding more than $1.3 million in scholarships to H and R Block Budget Challenge participants. The H and R Block Budget Challenge is a free online tool available to teachers that exposes teenagers to the financial pressures of an adult through a simulated experience, kind of like a game. It is offered year round as part of the company’s Dollars & Sense financial literacy platform.
A national survey recently discovered that 42 percent of teenagers do not describe themselves as “financially fit.” H And R Block‘s own research indicates that 58 percent of teenagers fear that their finances will be worse than those of their parents. Teens want to learn this information, but financial literacy instruction is only a high school graduation requirement in seven states, according to the Council for Economic Education.
H and R Block is stepping into the void by offering its Budget Challenge to 155,000 high school students across all 50 states this school year. This represents a substantial increase over the approximately 100,000 students that participated last year. The scholarships will be awarded to the best performers in the month of April.
Even the students that do not win a scholarship will benefit from the program, however. More than 95 percent of the teachers that participate in the program agree that it is an effective tool for teaching kids financial basics. Between the high cost of college and the crippling debt usually incurred to pay for it, financial education is vital to today’s youth.