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WASHINGTON – In a month that features a National Youth Saving Challenge during National CU Youth Week, April 18-24 a recently released survey by the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy offers some insight to how fiscally savvy students are. The survey finds that for the first time since 1997, high school students are starting to reverse declining scores. On average, students who participated in the 2004 survey answered 52.3% of the questions correctly- up from 50.2% in 2002 and 51.9% in 2000 -but still a failing grade based on the typical grade scale used by schools. Survey questions were divided into four categories: income, money management, saving and spending. High school seniors did a far better job of correctly answering questions about income 62.9% and spending 55.4% than they did about money management 45.4% and saving 41%. The survey also finds that positive influences on students include parents 58.3% and required in-school money management courses. Of those students who took a full semester of money management courses, the students attending required classes did better 54.1% than those where it was required only for some students 50.6% and those where money management classes were electives 52.7%. “Interest in teaching financial literacy in public schools surged this year with 24 state bills, resolutions and proclamations introduced in the first quarter of 2004 alone,” said Dara Duguay, executive director of the National Jump$tart Coalition. “Congress also established a new Financial Literacy and Education Commission to coordinate federal agencies’ financial education efforts, so we hope this added emphasis on the need for Americans to become financially literate will translate into increased interest in our nation’s schools.” The Jump$tart survey, conducted this past December, January and February, consisted of a written 45-minute examination administered to 4,074 12th graders in 215 schools across the United States.

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