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H&R Block survey says: Teens would give up smartphones to graduate college debt-free

4 min read

4 min read

January 26, 2016

Generation Z Insights coincide with recent $1.4 million in scholarships and grants awarded via H&R Block Budget Challenge Program

Teens may seem glued to their smartphones, but 41 percent would give theirs up for a year if it meant graduating college debt-free, according to a survey commissioned by H&R Block.

The survey, designed to find out what current high school students have to say about debt and finances, also revealed that 42 percent do not consider themselves “financially fit.” And, that they are eager to learn more about managing money.

“As the survey results revealed, teens want to learn how to manage their finances and make crucial decisions about money,” said Kathy Collins, chief marketing officer of H&R Block. “That is why we developed H&R Block Dollars & Sense seven years ago to help teach the next generation the value of money and the impact financial decisions play in their lives today and tomorrow.”

But Help Is Here

To help teens gain the skills needed to manage personal finances, H&R Block provides free personal finance curriculum to high schools nationwide. Through the H&R Block Budget Challenge, the company recently awarded another $1.4 million in scholarships and grants to teachers and students.

Part of H&R Block’s longtime Dollars & Sense financial literacy platform, the Budget Challenge teaches teens how to manage the financial life of an adult. Only six states1 currently require high school students to be tested on personal finance concepts before graduation, and H&R Block is helping to fill this important curriculum gap.


Throughout January, H&R Block representatives have presented grants and scholarships to winning schools and students across the nation. Today, Clements High School business education teacher, Greg Eppes, in Sugar Land, Texas, received a $2,500 classroom grant.

“Budgeting is one of the most important skills we can teach teens before they enter the real world,” said Eppes, who also works as a financial investment advisor. “By taking the H&R Block Budget Challenge, my students are now equipped to make essential financial planning decisions that will serve them the rest of their lives.”

Schools can still get in on the fun

This spring, H&R Block will reward even more students and teachers, bringing the two-year program awards total to more than $6 million. Teachers can still register their classes for spring 2016 semester simulations by visiting HRBDS.org2 through Feb. 4, 2016.

Last fall, almost 60,000 students participated in the H&R Block Budget Challenge nationwide, with 66 students from 20 states earning $20,000 scholarships for their top-ranking scores. Also, 30 teachers from 15 states were awarded grants valued up to $5,000 for their overall class performance. See HRBDS.org for the full list of fall 2015 semester winners by state.

Visit the H&R Block Budget Challenge Newsroom for photos, videos, and more information about the program, or follow on Twitter and Instagram @TeenMoneyTips or on Facebook/HRBDS.

Editor’s Note: B-roll footage and photos of the awards presentation at Clements High School in Sugar Land, Texas, is available on the H&R Block Dollars & Sense Media Room. Former participants – including students and teachers – are available to share their personal experiences with the H&R Budget Challenge upon request.

About H&R Block Dollars & Sense: H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE: HRB) is the world’s largest consumer tax services provider. More than 650 million tax returns have been prepared worldwide by and through H&R Block since 1955. H&R Block Dollars & Sense helps increase financial literacy among teenagers through curriculum and resources, grants to supplement the cost of personal finance education and scholarships to help young Americans pay for higher education. Since 2009, H&R Block Dollars & Sense has donated more than $8.4 million in grants and scholarships. For more information, visit the H&R Block Newsroom, www.HRBDS.org or follow us on Twitter and Instagram, @TeenMoneyTips and our Facebook page, HRBDS.

About ProperLiving: Based out of Cincinnati, Ohio, ProperLiving, LLC owns and operates the Budget Challenge Personal Finance Simulation, which received a U.S. Patent in May 2013.

[1] http://www.councilforeconed.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/2014-Survey-of-the-States.pdf

[2] See full terms and conditions, including eligibility requirements, at www.HRBDS.org.