Financial Literacy 101 Instructor Guide

The Instructor Guide resources section gives you a chance to get an overview of each course.

If you are a school administrator learning to manage the program, please click here to view the Administrative Guide.

About the Course

Financial Literacy 101 is a 90-minute course designed to help prepare students for the financial challenges they will face as college student, especially budgeting and credit card management. We also hope to help generate a dialog on financial issues between parents and students - a key factor in overall student success in college.

This course is an ideal way to easily integrate a financial literacy component into your classroom and makes a great homework or extra-credit assignment. Further, the course is a wonderful resource to share on financial aid nights.

Students who complete the course and attend college in North Carolina are also automatically entered to win one of two $500 Financial Literacy Scholarships. For more details and official rules on this scholarship program, please click here.

This course is designed and operated by Decision Partners.

Curriculum Overview

Financial Literacy 101 is an online financial literacy course designed for the specific educational needs of graduating high school seniors and college undergraduates. The course could also be called a "brief intervention" in that is designed primarily as a prevention vehicle for helping students avoid likely causes of financial harm that often result from the uninformed use of credit cards, a lack of budgeting, and not understanding the consequences of mismanaging financial independence. If you are teaching high school seniors, within a few months virtually all of your students will own at least one credit card and, according to one study, over half of those students will max out at least one card within their first year of college. If you are teaching college students, the vast majority already have more than one card and graduate with over four cards.

In addition to a basic financial literacy curriculum, the course uses surveys, quizzes and interactive exercises to encourage students to reflect on their personal knowledge, attitudes and behavior on relevant financial topics. By considering this financial literacy material in the context of their own perceptions and beliefs, we hope to encourage critical thinking and responsible decision making.

Course Content

After registering for the course, the student is taken through a linear learning experience that uses both textual and multimedia content. In addition, there are several interactive calculators that help students apply the knowledge they learn from the course to their personal circumstances (or, in the case of the "real world" calculator, their expected post-college financial situation).

Introduction - A multimedia presentation that offers an overview of what students will learn and why they can benefit from the course.

Part 1: Financial Health - An introduction to the concept of "financial health," comparing the discipline required to maintain financial health with the discipline required to keep physically healthy. The content covers budgeting and banking, and includes an interactive budgeting exercise.

Mid-Term Quiz - Several questions covering the content in Part 1. Students are told immediately if they answered correctly and are given additional information on each topic regardless of whether they answered correctly or not. This feature serves to reinforce the most important concepts of the course.

Part 2: Credit and Debt - Focusing primarily on revolving consumer debt, this section covers credit cards, credit card marketing, credit reports/scores, identity theft, and recognizing the trouble signs of unmanageable debt. The course ends with the "real world" calculator, in which students have the opportunity to interact with a hypothetical post-graduation budget based on actual starting salary data for over 40 professional fields.

Final Exam - Several questions covering part two of the course. Students are also given the opportunity to re-take missed questions at the end of the course.

Post-Course Survey - A brief survey in which students may rate the course and offer feedback for future revisions to the course.

Course Tools

While the course is built around a multimedia content delivery model, the course is organized by each participant's personalized "My Money" page, which is customized by each student's interests. For example, while taking the course, students are given the opportunity to "save" content sections of interest. These sections are then copied to their personalized page, where they link to more detailed textual information.

In addition, the My Money page also includes:

- All interactive exercises from the course, plus several additional exercises.
- A financial journal for short and long-term financial goals.
- All course fact sheets and downloads.
- A course progress graphical monitor.
- Personalized web links.

To use personalized resources such as the financial goals exercise and course notes/bookmarks, you will need to create your own course.

Course Completion Certificate

Students who complete the course may print a confirmation certificate which includes a secure, unique code. The completion certificate also includes each student's combined midterm and final exam grade. Please note that students may retake individual questions to raise their score.

Administrative Tools

School administrators whose CFNC accounts are associated with a secondary or post-secondary institution in North Carolina have the ability to view and export data on student participation - a great way to quantify your financial education outreach efforts.

Recommended Lesson Plans

In addition to our course, we also recommend the lesson plans of the Council for Economic Education. For more information, please visit their web site at The direct link to their free lesson plans is