Financial Literacy Survey: 90 Percent of Students Changed Personal Finance Behaviors

Respondents changed how they manage their personal finances after completing lessons of USA Funds Life Skills.USA Funds®’ quarterly surveys of students who had received personal finance education through their college or university disclose that 90 percent of the 11,500 survey respondents changed how they manage their personal finances after completing lessons of USA Funds Life Skills®. USA Funds Life Skills is an online financial literacy and student success curriculum for college students. Of those students reporting changes in their personal finance or academic success behaviors, the respondents reported making an average of 11.5 behavioral changes.

The behavioral changes most frequently cited by the survey respondents are:

  1. I consider if an item is a need or want before purchasing it, and spend less on wants. (7,246 respondents)
  2. I established educational, financial and/or career goals. (7,062 respondents)
  3. I researched and understand the requirements to complete my program of study. (6,685 respondents)
  4. I avoid taking on additional debt unless I am sure I can afford the payments. (6,257 respondents)
  5. I spend more time on activities that help me achieve my educational, financial and career goals. (6,062 respondents).

USA Funds invited more than 125,000 students who had completed at least one USA Funds Life Skills course since 2012 to complete the online survey. Respondents could choose from a list of 25 possible personal finance behavior change statements, including topics related to managing school life and student loans, managing student finances, and managing personal life issues.

Assessing the impact of financial literacy programs

To assess the impact of USA Funds Life Skills on student behavior, USA Funds will continue conducting similar surveys each quarter, covering students who completed at least one USA Funds Life Skills course during the previous three to six months.

More than 210 postsecondary institutions currently use the USA Funds Life Skills curriculum. Since the curriculum moved online in 2009, more than 173,000 students have completed nearly 600,000 USA Funds Life Skills courses.

USA Funds Life Skills also assesses gains in personal finance knowledge and attitudinal changes through post-course assessments and surveys. For USA Funds Life Skills courses completed during the current academic year, students have recorded an average of 88 percent correct answers on the post-course assessments.

Download the full USA Funds Life Skills behavioral survey results.