The Making Cents Project is a collaborative effort of the Pennsylvania Department of Education and The Pennsylvania State University established to meet specific requirements of Act 104 of 2010 as it relates to economic and personal financial literacy. Established in January 2012, the Making Cents Project is now in its sixth full year in 2017-2018. Key elements of the partnership remain consistent from year-to-year including providing professional development for Pennsylvania educators, maintaining a database of educators interested in personal finance and economic education, disseminating information to educators, curating financial education curriculum and resources, and researching the status of personal finance and economic education in the commonwealth.


Pennsylvania Task Force on Economic Education and Personal Financial Literacy Education

The Pennsylvania Task Force on Economic Education and Personal Financial Literacy Education, established by Act 104 of 2010, spent fourteen months studying research, best practices and trends in financial education in order to formulate recommendations on how to improve financial education in Pennsylvania’s schools. The entire report can be downloaded here. Below are the key findings and recommendations.

Key Findings

In researching the trends and needs in financial education, the Task Force found:

  • Studies document there is growing support for teaching financial education in schools.
  • Since the financial crisis of 2008, more states are adopting legislation that varies in the degree to which personal finance is taught and required for graduation.
  • While many Pennsylvania high schools offer financial education, it is typically part of an elective course, and the personal finance content is often limited.
  • Many states have developed their own K-12 academic standards for personal finance to provide a multi-grade approach to learning culminating with a capstone course at the high school level.
  • There are a wide variety of free and low-cost curriculum materials from which schools can choose making the implementation of a financial education curriculum a no- to low-cost endeavor.
  • Most teachers have not been trained to teach personal finance and would like more professional development to help them better understand the subject.
  • More high school graduates entering college today are taking out student loans and acquiring substantial debt, yet most young people indicate they do not understand the student loan process or how to plan for college costs.


Current efforts to teach personal finance in Pennsylvania’s public schools today are fragmented and inconsistent depending on which of the 500 school districts a student attends. To ensure that every student receives the instruction they need to make informed decisions about saving, spending, investing and protecting their money, the Task Force made the following recommendations to Governor Corbett and the Pennsylvania General Assembly:

  • Recommendation 1:  Require every Pennsylvania high school student to complete a standalone capstone course on personal finance in order to graduate.
  • Recommendation 2:  Adopt comprehensive, standalone Pennsylvania K-12 academic standards devoted to personal finance.
  • Recommendation 3:  Provide dedicated funding to support high quality K-12 personal finance instruction and teacher training.
  • Recommendation 4:  Develop a financial education instructional endorsement for secondary teachers in Pennsylvania and corresponding program guidelines for professional educator programs.

Report on Economic and Personal Financial Literacy Education in 


Concurrent with the Task Force report above and in accordance with Act 104 of 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities issued a biennial report on the status of economic education and personal finance education in Pennsylvania.  The report can be downloaded in its entirety here. Below are some of the findings of this report:

  • Economics and personal finance are two distinct (albeit related) disciplines.
  • Twenty-eight percent of Pennsylvania’s high school students take a course devoted to economics or personal finance.
  • Thirty-eight (or 7.6 percent) of the state’s 500 school districts require students to take a course in personal finance before graduation.
  • While economics is taught primarily in the social studies, personal finance lacks a “home” subject area.
  • There are numerous resources available to help school districts teach personal finance–many of which are free.
  • Teachers want additional professional development to adequately teach both subjects.

Other Reports and Statistics to Make the Case for Personal Finance and/or Economic Education 

How Much Do People Know about Money?

  • Financial Capability in the United States (FINRA Investor Education Foundation)  – download here
  • The Financial Capability of Young Adults – A Generational View (Dr. Gary R. Mottola, FINRA Foundation, 2014) – download here
  • Parents, Kids and Money Survey (T. Rowe Price) – download here
  • The 2017 Consumer Financial Literacy Survey (The National Foundation for Consumer Credit Counseling and Boeing Employees’ Credit Union, 2017) – download here
  • Personal Financial Satisfaction Survey (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants) – access here
  • Key Findings of High School Seniors’ Financial Knowledge and Outlook (Discover Pathway to Financial Success, 2013) – download here
  • Financial Management Practices of College Students from States with Varying Financial Education Mandates (Dr. Michael Gutter of the University of Florida, 2009) – download here

What is Being Done to Teach Personal Finance?

  • Who Has Access to Financial Education in America Today? (Next Gen Personal Finance, 2017) – download here
  • Survey of the States: Economic and Personal Finance Education in Our Nation’s Schools (Council for Economic Education, 2016) – download here
  • Bridging the Financial Literacy Gap: Empowering teachers to support the next generation (PWC, 2016) – download here
  • National Report Card on State Efforts to Improve Financial Literacy in High Schools (The Center for Financial Literacy, Champlain College) – download here
  • Content-Based Teacher Professional Development Pilot Project (Jump$tart Teacher Training Alliance and the National Endowment for Financial Education, 2013) – download here
  • Transforming the Financial Lives of a Generation of Young Americans: Policy Recommendations for Advancing K-12 Financial Education  (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 2013) – download here
  • Teachers’ Background and Capacity to Teach Personal Finance: Results of a National Study (Dr. Wendy Way and Dr. Karen Holden of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2009) – download here

What is the Impact of Financial Education?

  • The Financial Fragility of American Families (Dr. Annamaria Lusardi of the George Washington University School of Business, Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center, 2013) – download here
  • The Effect of Financial Literacy and Financial Education on Downstream Financial Behaviors (University of Colorado – Boulder, 2013) – download here