free financial literacy courses

The Essentials of Teaching Financial Literacy: Free Courses from EVERFI

The best financial literacy courses are from EVERFI. In this post, I share how you can bring financial literacy knowledge to students of all ages.
New research from EVERFI demonstrates the benefits of students taking multiple courses.

Financial literacy is perhaps one of the most underrated yet essential skills that we could be teaching our students in schools. It's a skill often handed down from parents to children, significantly impacting a child's future financial success. When it comes to financial literacy, earlier education is better.

If parents are financially literate and pass those skills along, their children are more likely to be financially successful themselves. Conversely, if parents lack financial literacy or have poor financial habits, their children will likely inherit those poor financial habits.

We want all of our children to succeed!

With this in mind, financial literacy skills have increasingly become identified as an equity issue.

So, where do schools and teachers start? This blog post will share how any teacher can use the best financial literacy resources out there to add valuable financial literacy concepts to their curriculum.

Sponsored by EVERFI from Blackbaud. All opinions my own.

What Can Schools Do About Financial Literacy?

Balancing the equation of making more than you spend is crucial for financial success. Teaching these financial skills to our students is so important!

Several years ago, my classroom was recognized as one of the most financially literate in the country.

As I taught financial literacy skills, I discovered that while students had opinions about money, many lacked the knowledge to make informed financial decisions. This particular experience involved an extensive simulation.

While not every school can implement an extensive budgeting simulation, giving students some exposure to financial skills can have a lasting impact.

The courses shared in this post do just that. That's where EVERFI’s free courses come in. With EVERFI's solutions, you have a concise way to add financial literacy to just about any course in your school.

Everfi from Blackbaud

Yes, Financial Literacy Can Be Put In Every School

You can empower your students to become financially literate at any age. By integrating financial literacy education into elementary, middle, and high school curricula, we not only equip students with essential life skills but also make math concepts more tangible and applicable.

In this blog post, I'll recommend some free courses on financial literacy and add another crucial course on data analytics for high school that is also related to financial literacy in terms of understanding how our online data is used.

All of these courses offer students hands-on experiences in decision-making simulations, providing invaluable learning without the risk of real-world financial mistakes.

Benefits of these Free EVERFI Courses

  • Each course is age-appropriate for the grade level
  • Courses come with guides and excellent teacher resources for using the courses with their students.
  • Fundamental math in these courses makes concepts like addition and subtraction even more relevant and real-world. We need students to understand that math is relevant to their everyday lives.
  • The teacher dashboard lets teachers track real-time in-course assessment data. This gives teachers a picture of where students are in the process.
  • The activities are game-based and real-world as students make decisions and learn about the consequences of those decisions.
  • The activities are compact enough to fit into your social science, math, economics, or other course as appropriate.  
  • All EVERFI lessons come backed with an ISTE Seal and Digital Promise Product Certification.

Here are the five financial literacy courses I think every school should look to implement. Many states have a requirement to teach financial literacy, and others are looking at adding it to their curriculum, so now is the time to add this to your school's curriculum.

1. EVERFI: Financial Literacy (High School)

This fundamental financial education course should be taught to every high school student. Made relevant to high school students in particular, this 7-lesson (35 minutes each) interactive course brings real-life scenarios to students and has been shown to positively impact students who take the course.

Ensuring that all students receive access to information relating to financial decisions helps them be better prepared for life in the real world and avoid issues that could derail their financial health for years to come.

Topics covered in the EVERFI: Financial Literacy course:

  • Banking basics, including the financial products offered by banks
  • How to complete a W-4 and (in most locations) interactive simulations that help students calculate taxes
  • Budgeting
  • Purchases and everyday financial decisions
  • How credit scores work and the fees associated with credit cards
  • Decisions about further education, earnings, and debt
  • Insurance decisions, including car insurance and procedures in an accident

This course has interactive simulations and real-life scenarios that help bring the real world into the classroom

2. Data Science Foundations and Exploration Labs (High School)

Data science is increasingly part of financial literacy and is a rapidly growing career field. In today's data-driven world, understanding data analysis is crucial for informed decision-making. Data Science Foundations and Exploration Labs is an excellent fit for the high school curriculum.

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Data Science is a vital field for many of our students and impacts all of us as we become part of data sets and decision-making in companies based on the data collected on us.

Topics covered in Data Science Foundations and Explorations Lab:

  • Machine learning
  • Data visualization
  • Database management and data collection
  • Fields in data science
  • How data is used
  • Data science in banking
  • Banking fraud and how fraud is detected
  • Common financial wellness issues for young adults.

Through hands-on simulations and practical exercises, students understand big data and how their personal data impacts larger data sets. All of these examples are practical and real-world.

3. Smart Economics: Economics Concepts (Middle School)

Economics is a crucial course for middle school students to understand their role in the economy and grasp fundamental business concepts essential for their future success. Smart Economics is a great start for middle school students.

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Students learn about economics on a personal and a macro level as they work through the Smart Economics Course.

Topics covered in Smart Economics:

  • Buying and selling
  • Supply and demand
  • How markets work
  • Government and economic forces that shape our world.

I also like this course because many students will eventually work in business. Business degrees often feature economics courses, and I believe students need to be exposed to important economics information earlier.

4. FutureSmart: Financial Literacy (Middle School)

FutureSmart helps students learn how to make real-life personal financial decisions in a hands-on story-based narrative with interactive exercises. This evidence-based course has been shown to increase the financial knowledge, financial confidence, and self-reported financial behaviors of middle schoolers compared to their peers.

FutureSmart was independently validated to meet ESSA Level III. This level demonstrates that usage of the digital course shows a positive, statistically significant relationship with student’s financial knowledge, self-efficacy, and behaviors.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐READ ABOUT THIS RESEARCH-BASED EVIDENCE
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FutureSmart has been shown to improve the financial literacy of middle school students and makes an excellent addition to any middle school's curriculum.

Furthermore, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), found in 2022 that individuals with higher financial literacy appear to be better prepared for short-term financial needs, report spending less than their income, and have an emergency fund set aside. So, this course would be at the top of my list as an essential addition to every middle school curriculum.

Topics covered in FutureSmart:

  • Comparison shopping
  • Managing day-to-day expenses, including payment methods
  • Wise use of debit cards and credit cards and knowing the difference
  • Career planning and income potential
  • How to reduce out-of-pocket costs of higher education
  • How a business grows its income
  • Investments
  • Insurance
  • Planning for unexpected expenses
  • Creation of a personal portfolio of career interests, plans for furthering education, and next action steps

FutureSmart equips students with essential knowledge to make important financial decisions that will impact their future, including whether to pursue higher education and how to manage associated costs responsibly.

Additionally, this would be a great time for teachers to discuss the impact of GPA and other factors from high school as it relates to future career and education opportunities.

5. Vault: Understanding Money (Elementary School)

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In Vault, elementary students have a fun, interactive experience learning about managing money and making financial decisions.

The Vault game-based experience introduces students to some basic life skills in an age-appropriate way. Topics covered:

  • Budgeting
  • Career planning
  • Healthy borrowing habits

Let’s Introduce Financial Literacy to All of Our Students

In conclusion, integrating these courses into your curriculum not only makes math more meaningful but also sets students up for a successful future. By equipping them with financial literacy skills, we can help break the cycle of poverty and empower them to make sound financial decisions throughout their lives.

Explore the free, easy-to-use financial literacy courses offered by EVERFI today. Your students' future success depends on them.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored blog post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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