Lessons from the Field: Connecting School-Based Financial Education and Account Access in Amarillo, TX

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and Prosperity Now released the findings of a first-of-its-kind study on the impact of financial education and financial access on elementary students. With funding from Treasury, Prosperity Now partnered with the Center for Financial Security at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (CFS) and OpportunityTexas—an initiative of the Center for Public Policy Priorities and RAISE Texas—to test the impact of approximately five hours of classroom-based financial education and access to a bank or credit union branch in school on 4th and 5th grade students’ financial knowledge, behavior and attitudes. Overall the research found improved outcomes for students from the approach, including improved financial knowledge, more positive attitudes towards savings and financial institutions, and higher rates of being banked if students had access to accounts in school.

Beyond the research findings, the project also offers new insights into the process of launching and operating an in-school banking program and connecting such a program to a school-based financial education curriculum. Lessons from the Field: Connecting School-Based Financial Education and Account Access in Amarillo, TX is a brief from Prosperity Now and OpportunityTexas with lessons learned and observations from the implementation of the financial education and in-school banking in Amarillo, Texas, one of the two pilot sites. The brief contains information on:

  • The financial education curriculum used in the study
  • The training classroom teachers received on the curriculum.
  • The in-school banking program (Happy State Bank’s Kids’ Bank Program).
  • Factors associated with higher participation in the banking program.
  • Promising ways to connect in-school banking to financial education curriculum.
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