The Magnetar Capital UChicago Financial Education Initiative is financially empowering students through high-quality materials, evidence-based approaches, teacher community, and scholarly expertise.
The Magnetar Capital UChicago Financial Education Initiative, launched in July 2016, is developing the tools, resources, and capacity to spread robust financial education across America. The Initiative aims to advance the field of financial education through high-quality materials, evidence-based approaches, teacher communities, advocacy, and scholarly expertise. The Initiative recently developed finEDge, a one-semester, research-based financial education program for high school students. When students complete finEDge, they will have an integrated, self-reinforcing foundation of productive financial decision-making skills, attitudes, and knowledge.
Housed at UChicago STEM Education, the Magnetar Capital UChicago Financial Education Initiative taps into the Center’s expertise in learning science, curriculum design, digital tool development, assessment, and experience supporting schools and districts.
How We Do It
The Initiative consists of several interconnected pieces, including a curriculum, the team challenge, professional development, and a host of supplemental materials.
finEDge is a one-semester, research-based financial education program for high schoolers.
The program's content and pedagogical approach are based on learning science, behavioral change research, and the latest information on effective design of formal and informal financial education experiences. The goal is that finEDge students leave the program with an integrated, self-reinforcing foundation of productive financial decision-making skills, attitudes, and knowledge.
The initiative believes that good teaching is essential to program implementation. To help improve the quality of teaching, the program includes:
- Face-to-Face Professional Development Sessions focused on content and pedagogy in the curriculum materials.
- A 5-hour, online Financial Education Professional Learning Course for teachers to review financial literacy content at their own pace and certify their preparation for teaching high-school financial literacy standards.
- Daily Assistance for teachers with specific needs and issues.
The Magnetar Team Challenge is a simulated stock trading competition held each spring in the Chicago area. Student teams receive a first-hand experience of what it is like to be a stock trader or analyst as they make investment decisions in real time.
- The Challenge kicks off with the financial literacy competition, a game-show style contest where students answer questions about personal finance & money management.
- Competing as teams, students analyze trends to build a $100,000 mock stock portfolio. They monitor and balance their portfolios throughout the trading period.
- School teams with the highest performing portfolios overall win school grants.
The initiative taps into the scholarly approach and expertise of UChicago STEM Education to build its materials and services. Our research and development process includes:
- Rigorous financial education research to ensure the curriculum is evidence-based;
- Collaborations with experts and practitioners in the field;
- Partnerships with teachers to iterate and field test the curriculum;
- Decades of experience in curriculum development, learning science, professional development and STEM content.
The initiative believes every high school student should receive high-quality financial education in school. We work with local and national leaders to advocate for one-semester, in-school implementation of financial education coursework.
The Magnetar Capital UChicago Financial Education Initiative is a partnership between Magnetar Capital, an Evanston-based hedge fund, and UChicago STEM Education, a leading research and curriculum development center. Established in July 2016 with a $5 million gift from Magnetar Capital, the Initiative charges UChicago STEM Education with developing new teacher and student tools to financially educate high-school students.
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