WASHINGTON, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- A program to help give U.S. high school students financial smarts was announced by the Treasury Department Monday, marking the start of the new school year.
The National Financial Capability Challenge is a voluntary online exam and classroom toolkit that will help instructors teach students about saving, budgeting, investing, the safe use of credit and other important skills critical to developing strong financial knowledge and capability, the Treasury Department said in a release.
"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," Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said. "Ensuring that young people have the skills they need to make wise financial choices today and into adulthood will help us build a stronger foundation for our nation's economic future."
Education Secretary Arne Duncan called a lack of financial literacy "a major roadblock on the path to college access and success for too many students."
The program encourages schools and teachers to help ensure students have the tools they need to make smart financial decisions for themselves, their families and their communities.
The Treasury Department said educators can register for the challenge at www.challenge.treas.gov. The online exam will take place between March 7 and April 8. Educators and students who score in the top 20 percent nationally and those who are among the top scorers in their school will receive certificates.
More than 76,000 students and 2,500 educators in all 50 states participated in last school year's National Financial Capability Challenge, the Treasury Department said.