Knology Partners with NEFE on US Financial Education Spending Database

First-of-its-kind resource will offer detailed understanding of activities and effects across states

by Knology
Feb 27, 2020

Knology and the National Endowment for Financial Education® (NEFE®) announce a collaboration to create a database of historical spending on financial education across all 50 states. Knology anticipates that the open-access resource—linked to outcomes reported in the Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking—will be beneficial for academic researchers, policymakers, and financial education organizations.

For researchers, the database could provide better understanding of the true impact of financial education on U.S. residents, according to Joseph de la Torre Dwyer, Ph.D., a political economist at Knology and the principal investigator for the project.

“Right now, the field is looking at things like whether a financial education course should be required for graduation. We are going to complement that, translating financial education inputs and activities into a measure that is much more detailed,” Dwyer explains. “Currently, there seems to be an assumption that there’s a financial education switch that’s turning on and off, but that is a crude measure for what financial education actually is. We think this dataset will give us more precise estimates of the impact of financial education.”

For policymakers and financial education organizations operating nationally and locally, the team of researchers at Knology hope that the study provides actionable findings that can be used to assess and increase the impact of their financial education policies and offerings. The team also hopes that others will contribute to the financial spending database once it’s completed.

“We are hoping that this furthers the literature and that other researchers find it a valuable source for their own hypotheses and research,” Dwyer says.

“It’s important to NEFE that research moves the needle and has tangible impact on improving the financial well-being landscape,” notes Jill Jones, Ph.D., managing director of research at NEFE. “We’re particularly excited about this database because it builds on previous research to capture historic data about state-level costs for financial education and state mandates, which currently are not accounted for in the literature. We’re both proud and excited to continue funding collaborative, groundbreaking research focused on state-mandated financial education.”

About NEFE

The National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) is the independent, centralizing voice providing leadership, research and collaboration to advance financial well-being. As one of the first organizations to embark on the mission of wholly dedicating its efforts on improving the effectiveness of financial education, NEFE continues its legacy of strengthening action-oriented research agendas, mobilizing intermediaries, and creating better solutions for researchers, educators, practitioners and policymakers. For more information, visit

Photo credit: Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplash

Thanks for your comment and interest in this project, Claudia. You raise a very important point that data often relies on the respondents’ understanding of the item and that the risk of misunderstanding is perhaps elevated when it comes to detailed personal finance. Our current plans involve linking the data to the Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking (SHED) [], designed in part to provide information on the financial experiences and challenges among low- and moderate-income populations. Larrimore, Schmeiser, and Devlin-Foltz (2015) [] compared SHED to CPS, ACS, and SIPP and found that “For most of the overlapping questions the overall estimates are extremely close to those in the Census datasets considered.” This gives us hope that the data collected is reliable and we would be happy to take into account any research suggesting items on which we should expect to see nonrandom response bias. I should note that we would be particularly concerned to incorporate evidence that such bias correlates with either cohorts or state residency.
By Joseph Dwyer
On Thursday, March 5, 2020
Are you integrating data collected by Commerce Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics through the Census? Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) with Current Population Survey (CPS) as well as Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP)? My concern in part is that government ask people for detailed financial information in these surveys, uses these data for major funding decisions, but most people either don't understand or don't pay attention to their personal finances enough to give accurate answers.
By Claudia Mausner
On Friday, February 28, 2020
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