Oct 29, 2017

NGPF Podcast: Tim Talks to Grace Deng, Project Manager for NGPF's Access To Financial Education Report

After evaluating 11,000 high school course catalogs, NGPF researchers found that 1 in 6 high school students attend a high school with a personal finance course requirement; the numbers are 1 in 12 in low-income communities.

Without the work of Grace Deng and her team, we would not know about this huge gap between the need for financial education and what is actually happening in high schools across America. She and a team of researchers spent the summer combing through thousands of high school websites in search of....financial education courses.  Their report "Who has access to financial education in America today?" has provided the community with the most comprehensive analysis of how financial education has found (or not found) its way into the high school curriculum. From being embedded in economics, business, family and consumer science and math courses to being a standalone elective course to being a standalone required course, her team identified and categorized each course they found. She shares the meticulous process required to create such a groundbreaking report, some interesting findings and unanswered questions for future researchers.


  • 0:00–1:07 - Introduction
  • 1:08–3:27 - Grace on the data crunching: “challenging, but doable”
  • 3:28–7:43 - Scoping the project & the initial organizational process
  • 7:44–9:53 - The trials and tribulations of finding course catalogs
  • 9:54–12:13 - Categorization: standalone or embedded course? Elective or mandatory?
  • 12:14–13:56 - Managing the project
  • 13:57–19:17 - Holistic, relevant, and current findings
  • 19:18–21:41 - How states were graded
  • 21:42–24:46 - Significant (and surprising) figures/ Not-so hidden figures
  • 24:47–27:31 - Filling the knowledge gap
  • 27:32–28:22 - How the NGPF Access to Financial Education report is changing the debate
  • 28:23–29:47 - Conclusion

Grace's background:

  • Graduated from UC Berkeley with a Bachelor’s Degree in Statistics & Economics
  • Was an assistant at the Haas Business School prior to doing this project for NGPF
  • Currently pursuing Ph.D. in Statistics at Cornell University

Resources mentioned:


  • “Our Golden Standard… for what a personal finance course should be… is that it should be a one semester course completely dedicated to personal finance concepts and required for graduation for all high school students.”
  • “It’s interesting to see what these states are doing and why it works.”
  • “We also did some background research into which states were in the process of passing bills to add personal finance to high school curriculums, so it’d be really awesome [to see what happens] because our data will provide the before snapshot before these bills will be implemented. Then after these bills are implemented, if someone collects the data… and sees how the numbers have changed, then it would [provide] a really nice before and after analysis to look at the effect of a personal finance mandate.”



About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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