The new curriculum, Sallie Mae’s Knowledge for College program, will be made available to high school juniors and seniors in California either in a classroom or virtually. The program is focused on helping provide students – and their families – with the information they need to know in order to finance their higher education goals. The partnership between EVERFI and Sallie Mae comes as research indicates that eight in ten families find affording college “challenging,” less than half of families have a plan to pay for college, and just over half (51%) of students have researched financial aid opportunities.
The two companies also noted that California is unique in that it does not require high school students to take coursework in personal finance before graduating.
“Students and families continue to value higher education, but there’s still a certain level of anxiety and angst about how to pay for it,” Ray Martinez, co-founder and president of EVERFI, said. “(This) is why it is crucial that we provide these students with necessary tools to become confident in their ability to make smart financial decisions well into adulthood. Ensuring students and their families fully understand not only the process by which to apply for student financial aid, but also the responsibilities it carries is of the utmost importance and will help set them up for financial success.”
Knowledge for College includes five interactive modules to help students develop strategies for financing their post-secondary education and, beyond that, building good financial habits for life. Saving and budgeting are among the topics included in the curriculum, as are more advanced topics such as student loans and consumer financing.
“Financial literacy provides students with a strong foundation of knowledge and confidence in making informed decisions about the future,” Sallie Mae SVP Jen O’Donald said. “That future includes planning and paying for higher education, which is one of the first major financial decisions for many students and families. We want families to make these decisions with eyes wide open and that means providing critical education and information early in the process through programs like Knowledge for College.”
Washington, D.C.-based EVERFI made its Finovate debut last year at FinovateSpring. Founded in 2008, the company has been busy making friends this fall: teaming up with Athletes First this month and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) last month to help develop educational programs to boost African American history and fight anti-semitism, respectively. On the fintech front, EVERFI announced in November that it was working with Zelle to launch a free digital financial literacy course for high schools, and, in October, partnered with Citizens Financial Group to enhance the company’s existing College Bound Citizens education outreach initiative with a “robust digital component.”
We featured EVERFI in our look at the importance of financial literacy earlier this year. The company has raised more than $250 million in funding from investors including Jeff Bezos, Eric Schmidt, and the Rise Fund, among others.