Jump$tart offers $5K financial literacy scholarship for high school seniors

Seventeen high school students can turn their financial literacy into college money, thanks to a scholarship competition sponsored by some of the country's largest financial services companies. In a recent email to CardRatings.com, Laura Levine, president and CEO of the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, announced that the Financial Services Roundtable has launched their second annual search for students who can qualify for college scholarships of up to $5,000.

According to the Financial Services Roundtable's scholarship application materials, candidates must exhibit "academic success, respectable character, and financial need." In addition to submitting a completed application form, candidates must provide the sponsors with a personal statement of financial need and a character reference from a teacher or an influential community member. Students must also score a minimum 3.0 GPA on their high school transcripts.

Scholarship challenge encourages stronger school financial programs

The Jump$tart Coalition developed a series of national standards for personal finance education, adopted by educators across the country. The standards include measured competencies for financial decision making, money management, career income, credit card use, risk management, saving, and investing. Jump$tart publishes best practices for educators aspiring to help students meet those standards, while supporting schools with downloadable classroom resources.

Formal courses that meet Jump$tart's standards remain relatively rare in American schools. Fewer than half of state education boards integrate financial literacy into high school education guidelines. Many school districts that attempt to teach personal finance integrate that course material into existing math or home economics courses.

Only Utah, Missouri, Tennessee and Virginia require high school students to complete a standalone personal finance course to earn their diplomas. Last year's Financial Literacy Scholarship winners included students from Michigan, New York, Colorado, New Jersey, Washington, Mississippi, Virginia, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Students interested in this year's Financial Literacy Scholarship can find full application details and instructions at the Financial Services Roundtable website.