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Discover Card Wins Financial Literacy Award

[Monday, May 5th, 2014]

The Institute for Financial Literacy has awarded Discover Card an Excellence in Financial Literacy Education (EIFLE) Award for its financial education program.

The program, called Pathways to Financial Success, brings financial literacy classes to public high schools across the United States by awarding grants to schools and raising awareness of the importance of financial education.

Launched in 2012, the Pathways to Financial Success initiative is slated to span five years. Discover has invested $10 million in the program and has so far awarded over $5.2 million in grant money directly to schools.

Financial literacy across the country

Seventeen states currently require high school students to take some sort of financial literacy course in order to graduate, including:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

The need for financial literacy courses in high school was highlighted by a recent survey by education firm Higher One. The Money Matters on Campus survey quizzed 65,000 incoming college freshmen about things like credit cards, emergency savings, student loans and interest rates.

On a test consisting of six questions, students got an average of only two answers right. One of the areas where respondents showed a lack of understanding was credit card use. For example, only 12% of students surveyed knew that closing credit card accounts could bring their credit score down. And only 16% were aware that negative information on their credit reports would affect their credit score for up to seven years. Over half—54%—believed late payments and other negative credit info would disappear from their credit reports in three years or less.

First-ever EIFLE Award for Corporate Leadership

Discover is the inaugural recipient of this particular award. The Institute for Financial Literacy established the EIFLE awards in 2007, but this was the first year they gave an award in the category of “Organization of the Year, Corporate Leadership.” The award is meant to honor “innovation, dedication and commitment” on the part of people and organizations working to advance the cause of financial literacy education.

David Nelms, chairman and CEO of Discover, said that Discover was honored by the award and dedicated to supporting teachers “help young people acquire the financial knowledge and skills they need to prepare for successful futures.”

The award was given at the Annual Conference on Financial Education in New Orleans in April 2014.

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