USD Government Research Bureau contributes to report assessing financial education concerns among Native youth

VERMILLION, S.D. -- A recent study conducted by The University of South Dakota Government Research Bureau, in cooperation with First Nations Oweesta Corporation (Oweesta) out of Rapid City, S.D., the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy and the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, indicated that a majority of Native students are deficient in developing financial skills.

In a recently released report that examined the financial skills of Native youths at high schools with large Native populations in South Dakota, Montana and New Mexico, 93 percent of Native students surveyed received a failing score. They also scored low in all five financial literacy categories: income, money management, spending, savings and credit. The report was based on research for a biennial survey conducted by Jump$tart and sponsored by Merrill Lynch.

The report, which was supported by a grant from the National Council on Economic Education, included collaboration from Junior Achievement of New Mexico, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis-Helena Branch and the Hutchinson County Extension Service of South Dakota. It suggested strategies for changing economical education opportunities for Native youths such as the placement of culturally competent curricula in Native-serving schools, educating parents and school officials about the value of financial education, significant links between financial education and Native students’ goals, and increasing opportunities for Native youths to manage money as well as taking responsibility for their financial decisions.

Oweesta and its partners, including The University of South Dakota Government Research Bureau, have received a follow up grant from NCEE to study obstacles faced in promoting financial education in Native communities. More information and a copy of the 2008 report is available online at