Press Releases

For Immediate Release
April 02, 2004 Contact: Cheryl Weiss
(608) 264-7875

Wisconsin Students Top National Average for Financial Literacy

(Madison) A nationwide survey conducted for the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy reveals that high school students in Wisconsin scored lower than two years ago but still topped the national average for financial literacy. Nationally, results show that students are reversing declining scores and are demonstrating increased aptitude and ability to manage financial resources such as credit cards, insurance, retirement funds and savings accounts.

The results were part of Jump$tart's nationwide survey measuring high school seniors' level of knowledge of personal finance basics, and comparing these to the results from similar surveys conducted in 2002, 2000 and 1997 by the coalition. The researcher for all four studies was Lewis Mandell, Ph.D., professor of finance and managerial economics at the University of Buffalo School of Management.

On average, participants in Wisconsin answered 54.7 (versus 58.8 percent in 2002) of the questions correctly-which is still a failing grade based upon the typical grade scale used by schools (90-100%=A, 80-89%=B, etc.) This beat the national average, which was 52.3 percent, up from 50.2 percent in 2002 and 50.9 percent in 2000.

"Strengthening Wisconsin's financial future is our goal, and financially literate consumers are fundamental to growing a strong economy," said Lorrie Keating Heinemann, Secretary, Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.

"Promoting financial literacy helps people achieve success in our evolving financial system. These survey results demonstrate the need for proactive financial literacy initiatives and I thank Jumpstart Coalition for conducting the survey. I am encouraged that Wisconsin's high school seniors are above the national average, however, we still have much work to do."

"These numbers show that the need to promote financial literacy is greater than ever," said David Mancl, president, Wisconsin Jump$tart Coalition. "It is my hope that greater emphasis will be placed on improving financial literacy statewide. Ultimately our economy depends on it."

"While we still have a long way to go, I am encouraged that the survey results show the downward trend reversing among high school seniors as they become more aware of the need for financial literacy in a competitive job market," said Professor Mandell. "If parents, educators and school administrators continue to work together and emphasize the need for sound