Wisconsin High School Financial Literacy Program Expands as DPI Approves EverFi Digital Platform

Brookfield East, Wauwatosa East and Wauwatosa West are latest high schools to add program with support from Spring Bank, the program’s original bank sponsor in southern Wisconsin

Milwaukee, WI – April 14, 2015 – It may look and feel like a game, but the EverFi Financial Literacy Program – designed to bring complex financial concepts to life for today’s digital generation – has helped nearly 13,000 Wisconsin high school students at 85 schools learn about critical financial topics from college loans to credit cards to saving for retirement. With funding from Brookfield-based Spring Bank, Wauwatosa East, Wauwatosa West and Brookfield East High Schools are the latest schools to add the program, recently approved by the Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction as a “trusted resource” educational tool.

Spring Bank was EverFi’s first bank sponsor in southern Wisconsin, and one of the first statewide, when the bank started funding the financial literacy platform at Brookfield Central High School during the 2011-2012 school year. To date, Spring Bank has invested $21,000 impacting more than 800 students who have completed almost 3,500 hours of financial literacy education using the latest in new media technologies including video, 3-D gaming, avatars and social networking. Students who participated in Spring Bank’s program in 2013-2014 achieved an average of 91 percent on their post assessments and an improvement of 22 percent from pre-assessments.

“Now that we have a significant amount of data that proves the program’s success, it was an easy decision to fund expanding the digital platform into more of our area high schools,” says Spring Bank President David Schuelke. “For many of these kids, buying a car or borrowing money for college is already happening or soon will be, and we want to help better prepare them to realistically handle these real world financial challenges.”

Brookfield East High School became a Spring Bank EverFi partner school in September 2014.  Jason Kruse, chair of the school’s business education department – which was recently honored by Governor Scott Walker with a Wisconsin Financial Literacy Award – is using EverFi in place of textbooks. Kruse says, “The information is current and students are drawn to its interactive and technical aspects. They’re constantly engaged and less likely to zone out. The program gives real-time feedback, and includes benchmarks instructors can set to determine how much students need to accomplish before they receive a badge or other rewards.”

Nick Heiting, business and personal finance teacher at Wauwatosa West High School says, “EverFi has helped my students lay a great foundation for their final projects in which they actually have a salary, buy a car, pay for housing and generally replicate what their financial situation might be as realistically as possible. Students like having the ability to go at their own pace and can easily go back over concepts they missed.”

The 10-unit course offers eight hours of interactive, web-based education in a variety of topics including credit scores, insurance, credit cards, student loans, mortgages, taxes, stocks, savings and other critical concepts. The financial literacy platform allows students, using avatars, to explore real-world settings from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange to a used car dealership.

Following Spring Bank’s lead, nearly 20 Wisconsin banks, including BMO Harris and TCF Bank, now sponsor the EverFi platform in state schools including all MPS district high schools. Beyond the 13,000 Wisconsin high school students who have used this tool, more than 350,000 nationally are currently studying personal finance using the EverFi platform.

Schuelke, for his part, sees the growing program offering benefits beyond just the classroom.  “It’s a positive all around – for students, parents, families and community members – when we help today’s young people learn how to be tomorrow’s financially responsible citizens.”