Budget Challenge®, the Michigan Council for Economic Education (MCEE) and the state of Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing (CSCL) are pleased to announce a grant that will provide the Budget Challenge® financial education program along with teacher training to all Michigan high school schools at no financial cost. Funding for the program comes from the Securities Education and Training Fund under the guidelines set by the Uniform Securities Act (2002), Section 605(5)(e), MCL 451.2601(5) with grant administration by the Michigan Council for Economic Education. “This is an incredible opportunity for the students of Michigan”, notes Tim Lambrecht, Director of Education for Budget Challenge®. “Having used the program for four years as a classroom teacher, I can attest that the program can be truly life changing for students, setting them on a course to be financially capable young adults”.
Budget Challenge® is an immersive, ten-week, real-time, real-world financial simulation that has been used by over 750,000 students nationwide. Last year approximately 10,000 Michigan students participated. During the ten-week simulation, students manage their budget like that of a working young adult, making important financial decisions and trying to accomplish key financial goals like setting up an emergency fund, maximizing an employer 401k match for retirement, and paying down debt.
During the simulation, students create an online account, select vendors for an apartment, banking, cell phone service, auto and renter’s insurance, housing, utilities, and more. They receive a simulated paycheck, set aside some of their income into a 401K account as savings for retirement, and write e-checks to pay household bills. Budget Challenge® helps instill financial behaviors needed in real life, like routine checking of bills and account status, managing cash flow, and balancing near-term and longer-term financial goals. Simulation scoring positively reinforces savings for retirement and punishes mistakes such as missing due dates, bouncing checks and exceeding certain percentages of the credit limit on their credit card. Trophies are awarded for completing key financial tasks such as paying all bills on time, reducing debt, maxing out an employer 401k match and setting up an emergency fund.
“The Michigan Council on Economic Education listened to what teachers wanted for their students and is pleased to help provide them the resources they need to set students on a path for financial success”, notes MCEE president Derek D’Angelo. “The ‘learning by doing’ engagement provided by the Budget Challenge simulation will give all Michigan students an opportunity not available in any other state in the country.”
Teachers who have previously used Budget Challenge® will be able to register for simulations beginning Wednesday, September 25. Teachers who are new to Budget Challenge® will complete a free training to become familiar with the program, prior to using it. Teachers desiring to sign-up their classes or sign up for training can do so by emailing Budget Challenge® at: firstname.lastname@example.org.