Higher Schoolers Can Get Paid for Learning How to Budget

A PSA to All High School Teachers and Parents of High Schoolers Looking to Unearth Money for College

Despite the name of this site, I’ve never actually been “broke” a day in my life. A fortunate fact I can directly correlate to my parents taking the time to educate me about finances and teach me the almighty lesson of how to budget. They taught me by making me use my own money for purchases at a young age (we’re talking like 7 years old). Nothing makes you start to evaluate the ROI of a toy quite like your own money being on the line.

While I think most young men and women should learn how to budget with their own money, I do love the concept of the H&R Block Budget Challenge. Why? Because while high school students are playing with fictional money, real money is on the line.

HRB Budget Challenge Logo Horizontal w No Box

Simulating Grown-up Life with A Big Cash Out

The Budget Challenge is open to high school students and only teachers can register students to participate (helicopter parents everywhere are writhing in pain).

Teachers sign up their classes (sounds like a great built in lesson plan to me) and then each student is given a fictional job and salary and then set up accounts with the same vendors you would in real life – like cell phone companies, internet and cable providers. It’s sort of like when you had to carry around a flour baby to simulate being a parent a health class, except now students are handling monthly income, paying bills, and 401(k) contributions.

H&R Block scores students based on the amount in a student’s 401(k), the ability to pay bills on time and results on short finance quizzes sent out every few days. It almost sounds like a budget version of credit scoring.

Winner, Winner…Scholarship Money Instead of Chicken Dinner

The top 20 students in the simulation (across all schools) will receive $20,000 in scholarships for high education and the top five classrooms will win up to $5,000 in grants. Then one lucky girl or boy with the highest score will be deemed valedictorian of the entire budget challenge (which kicked off in October 2014) and receive $100,000 in scholarships for $120,000 total.

The simulation lasts approximately two months from February 13 – April 16, 2015

How Teachers Can Sign Up

Teachers have until February 6, 2015 (so Friday) to register their classes. It may not be part of the Common Core (even though I think it should be), but this lesson can pay off financially for both you and your students. Teachers can win up to $5,000 in grant money for their classroom. Plus, you’re provided with lesson plans, educational videos and additional resources you may need.

You can register by going to http://www.hrblockdollarsandsense.com/.

How Parents Can Encourage Teachers to Sign up

Parents can send emails, snail mail, tweets or Facebook message to their high schooler’s teacher to encourage him or her to sign the class up. Well, maybe just email would be the best approach. I’d just encourage you not to be too annoying about it. Teachers are really overworked and drastically underpaid. Play up that grant money!


 What are you waiting for? Go make it rain with you budgeting skills. 

Posted in Budgeting Tagged with: , ,
19 comments on “Higher Schoolers Can Get Paid for Learning How to Budget
  1. Ah, where was this when I was in high school?!?!

    Sounds like an awesome opportunity!!!
    Will: firstquarterfinance.com recently posted…Is It Easy to Sell on eBay?My Profile

    • Broke Millennial says:

      I thought the same thing when I heard about it! I think I could’ve been a contender for the top prize in high school.

  2. Amos says:

    Its a cool opportunity!Thanks for sharing and great post by the way.
    Amos recently posted…Could Subprime Car Finance Cause Another Global Financial Crisis?My Profile

  3. I didn’t have this when I was in HS. My kids should try this opportunity out. Thanks!
    Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted…It took 7 years, but we now have air conditioningMy Profile

  4. I have never heard of this and this is a really great program for our young people. Thanks for sharing.
    Petrish @ Debt Free Martini recently posted…Never Too Late To Get Your Finances In OrderMy Profile

    • Broke Millennial says:

      Absolutely. I’d love to see more programs like this becoming popular to help kids understand money before leaving the nest.

  5. This is really interesting! I never had ANY formal education or program dealing with real-world money in grade school, so hearing about this is awesome. Hopefully it’s a first step of many toward better financial literacy,
    Kali @ XY Planning Network recently posted…Resources and Links We LoveMy Profile

    • Broke Millennial says:

      I didn’t have any financial literacy training in middle school or high school either. I did get some in college, but it was a one-time session all seniors were required to go through. While helpful, it should’ve been a full course.

  6. What a great activity!! Wish there was something like this when I was in high school.
    How to Save Money recently posted…How to save money for your postgraduate studiesMy Profile

  7. Mackenzie Butts says:

    This is so cool I have never heard anything about this till now. I never knew there was any programs dealing with money in high school or college. It will hopefully be the first step toward many better financial problems in the future. This is such a good thing for high schoolers to be able to do.

  8. Learning real life experiences is great!
    Robert Connor recently posted…Win 100 dollars for joining the conversationMy Profile

  9. I wonder how they’ll choose a winner if job and salaries are randomly assigned and variable. Fingers crossed for the six figure income!
    Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life recently posted…Personal Finance Karaoke: “My Budget and I”My Profile

  10. Hopefully, many teachers took advantage of this great opportunity! The lessons learned with this program will help their students for life.

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