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High School Students Master Personal Finance Thanks to H&R Block

Teens from Florida, Michigan and Texas Take Home $20,000 College Scholarships from Finance Competition

Published 02-15-17

Submitted by H&R Block

Seventy-five percent of teens say learning more about money management is one of their top priorities and the H&R Block Budget Challenge is helping teens do just that in classrooms nationwide. Through this program, thousands of teens are preparing for the financial trials of adult life, and this month H&R Block awarded $100,000 in scholarships to acknowledge the exemplary budgeting, saving and investing skills of five students from the fall 2016 Budget Challenge.

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Studies show money is one of the biggest stressors for Americans, and many people don’t feel confident managing their finances. The H&R Block Budget Challenge gives students the opportunity to learn with and compete against students from all 50 states for scholarships in a game-like environment. During the 10-week program, students pay bills, manage expenses, save money, invest in retirement and pay taxes as if they were recent college graduates.

Alexa Brutus and Trey Hawkins of Bradenton, Fla.; Billy Balfour of St. Clair, Mich.; and Micah Bong and Saad Khawajal of Sugar Land, Texas, each earned $20,000 scholarships for being the most “real-world ready” of more than 73,000 students learning and competing in the fall Budget Challenge.

“Strong money management skills can make such a difference when new graduates head out in the real world, but funding for personal finance courses in high school can be scarce” said Kathy Collins, chief marketing officer of H&R Block. “We’re proud to offer the H&R Block Budget Challenge free to teachers and students nationwide to help teens learn these important financial skills before they start earning on their own.”  

Real-World Experience

Winner Billy Balfour was taught about personal finance growing up, but he says it didn’t click for him until he participated in the H&R Block Budget Challenge.

“Learning about personal finance was a huge priority for me. Even though I grew up talking about budgeting with my parents, it never really made sense to me until I had to do it myself,” said Balfour.

Balfour’s teacher Amanda Volz of St. Clair, Mich., has taught personal finance using the H&R Block Budget Challenge for three years and has found the program to be rewarding year after year for her students.

“The Budget Challenge gives my students excellent hands-on experience they can’t get from a textbook,” said Volz. “They walk away from this program knowing how banking, insurance and budgeting works in adulthood, which is invaluable.”

Legacy of Learning
The H&R Block Budget Challenge is part of H&R Block Dollars & Sense, an initiative that has helped more than 1 million teens become more real-world ready by giving them the knowledge they need to manage their money.

This year, over 3,500 high schools received free H&R Block Budget Challenge curriculum. Since starting the Budget Challenge three years ago, more than 450,000 high schoolers have benefitted, more than $6 million in scholarships and prizes have been awarded and five additional national winners will be announced in May.

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Editor’s Note: Current winners and former participants – including students and teachers – are available to share their personal experiences with the H&R Budget Challenge.

About H&R Block Dollars & Sense

H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE:HRB) is a global consumer tax services provider. Tax return preparation services are provided by professional tax preparers in approximately 12,000 company-owned and franchise retail tax offices worldwide, and through H&R Block tax software products for the DIY consumer. H&R Block Dollars & Sense is committed to increasing teens’ financial fitness by providing practical financial skills and has helped more than 1 million teens become more real-world ready. For more information, visit the H&R Block Newsroom, or follow H&R Block on TwitterInstagram or Facebook.

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.

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