Intuit Survey: U.S. High School Students Want Financial Education at School

Financial education has the potential to improve the lives of millions of high school students by giving them the skills they need to make informed decisions. Yet according to Intuit’s Financial Education survey, most high school students today rely on their parents for any financial knowledge.

Financial education has the potential to improve the lives of millions of high school students by giving them the skills they need to make informed decisions. Yet according to Intuit’s Financial Education survey, most high school students today rely on their parents for any financial knowledge. The survey shows that there is a massive opportunity to fill this gap and empower the next generation by teaching financial education in our schools. The new Intuit Financial Education survey, out today, found that 85% of U.S. high school students say that they are interested in learning about financial topics in school, and 95% of students who currently receive financial curriculum find it helpful. 

Financial education powers prosperity

High school students’ desire to learn financial skills stems from their understanding of how this knowledge can impact their future. The top three things high school students wish they knew about managing their finances are how to become wealthy (43%), how to save money (40%), and how to avoid debt (37%). But critical gaps exist. The top three financial terms that students don’t understand are “stocks/bonds” (53%), “401k/retirement” (45%), and “taxes” (28%).

When we asked students about their income, more than half of high school students surveyed received an allowance from a parent or guardian as a form of income (56%). One-third of high school students have a job (33%), and 15% have a side hustle as a form of income. Only 11% of high school students surveyed don’t have any source of income. Interestingly, when breaking down the data by gender, the survey revealed that more high school students who identify as young women have a job as their main source of income compared to those who identify as young men (37% women, 29% men).

While most students have some sort of income, their view on it varies. When asked what best describes their relationship with money, almost half (47%) of high school students surveyed said “I love it.” Another 26% answered “I have mixed emotions” about money and 10% said that “money stresses me out.”

Finance starts at home

Financial education varies dramatically across households and generations, and access isn’t equal; however, the influence of family on finances is universal. Most high schoolers (81%) get their financial knowledge from their parents or guardians. Yet parents aren’t always set up for success to be the best stewards of financial advice for personal reasons (knowledge, confidence, or their own financial challenges) or systemic reasons (high student debt, economic volatility, and low homeownership rates). Making financial education tools available inside and outside the classroom can help level the playing field. 

FinTok falls flat

Social media might be playing a smaller role in financial education than we may have assumed. Fewer than 1 in 5 high school students are turning to social media for personal finance information (19%). Of those students who go to social media for financial information, 59% of high school students say they aren’t always sure that they can distinguish accurate financial advice from bad or inaccurate financial advice on TikTok or other social media. Those who turn to social media have taken advice about: how to earn money (58%), savings tips (48%), how to start a side hustle (44%), how to budget (40%), and investing in crypto (21%).

Young men in high school are more likely than young women in high school to take general investing tips and advice from social media (23% vs. 15%).

Let’s make finance fun

Intuit recently launched Intuit for Education, a new financial literacy program that provides high school teachers and students with free personal and entrepreneurial finance courses. In honor of Financial Literacy Month in April, Intuit launched a nationwide “Hour of Finance Challenge” to encourage educators to spend one hour introducing students to financial curriculum, and to encourage high schools to prioritize financial education. All teachers can access the lesson throughout April, which includes a short activity about building financial credit, followed by playing Intuit Prosperity Quest, an online game designed to teach critical financial concepts such as taxes, credit, and investments using real-life scenarios. Intuit Prosperity Quest incorporates gamified interactive online learning to make financial education fun and relevant for students. This nationwide challenge gives schools a chance to compete against each other, using the average scores of all their students, to win a celebration for their school worth up to $25,000, $50,000, or $100,000, depending on the school size. 

As an organization that has been powering prosperity globally for more than 40 years, Intuit recognizes its unique opportunity to help the next generation and has set a goal to help 50 million students become more financially literate, capable, and confident by 2030.

“We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to prosper, yet we know not everyone has that same opportunity. Increasing financial education is a key way we can impact the success of the next generation and our future economy.”

Intuit CEO Sasan Goodarzi

Intuit Financial Education survey methodology

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 U.S. high school students was commissioned by Intuit between March 15 and March 25, 2024. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

Intuit

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