Decision Partners Releases Data on Student Incentive Programs
Boston, October 25, 2006 - Decision Partners is pleased to announce that Helen Wu, a first-year student at Boston College, has been awarded the Spring 2006 Pilot Program Scholarship. Ms. Wu completed Financial Literacy 101 for College, an online financial literacy course, while a senior at Boston Latin School. The scholarship was part of a comprehensive incentive program designed to both encourage students to complete the course and to collect data on what incentives effectively promote student participation.
Students completing the course with a passing grade were offered two incentives - the chance to win one $1,000 scholarship and a free month of unlimited downloads from the popular Napster music service.
The course was promoted to high school seniors through fliers distributed in homerooms, assemblies, and guidance offices in several Massachusetts schools, which were recruited with the help of the American School Counselor Association and their Massachusetts state division. The fliers educated college-bound students about the average debt that results from a four-year degree program and suggested that the course could help participants minimize debt by avoiding common financial problems. The fliers gave identical space to the free music download offer and the scholarship opportunity.
When students were asked "How important were each of the following factors in your decision to complete the course?" in the post-course survey:
- 50 percent said that "learning about personal finance" was "very important"
- 34 percent said that the "scholarship opportunity" was "very important"
- 12 percent said that the "free music offer from Napster" was "very important"
Further, when including both the "very important" and "somewhat important" responses to the same question:
- 94 percent said "learning about personal finance"
- 68 percent said "scholarship opportunity"
- 46 percent said "free music offer from Napster"
"We're pleased to release new data on what incentive programs truly motivate students," said Austin Jackson, CEO of Decision Partners. "Many people in the aid community assumed that unlimited free music would be the most effective way to engage students, but students told us overwhelmingly that financial concerns are significantly more important as they make the transition to college. Until financial literacy courses are mandatory for all incoming college students, we will continue to refine our marketing strategies to motivate more students to learn about these crucial topics."
Students participating in the Spring 2006 Pilot Program took Financial Literacy 101 for College, an interactive multimedia course managed by Decision Partners. Developed under the guidance of senior administrators from a major university's financial aid office, the course is an immersive experience that integrates a curriculum-based learning program with a high degree of personalization, tailoring the experience of each student to his or her personal goals and learning needs. After taking a pre-course survey to assess each student's financial knowledge, attitudes and behaviors, students progress through a multimedia learning experience with interactive exercises, streaming audio and synchronized slides. After taking the course, students take a graded final exam to measure learning gains.
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