The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association and the Sifma Foundation today kicked off their 17th annual Stock Market Game Capitol Hill Challenge, a national 14-week financial education competition that pairs members of Congress with public school students and teachers in every congressional district in the country to teach about saving, investing and civics. 

Student teams invest a hypothetical $100,000 portfolio in a fictitious brokerage account, choosing from listed stocks, bonds and mutual funds. In the process, they learn first hand about the capital markets as they work together to maximize the return of their portfolios using the Sifma Foundation’s curriculum-based Stock Market Game.

“Many teens do not receive the financial education they need to successfully manage their money, and programs like the Capitol Hill Challenge can help advance middle and high school students’ understanding of personal finance and the capital markets,” said Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, president of Charles Schwab Foundation, which is supporting the competition.

At the end of the competition, the top-10 performing teams win a trip with their teacher to Washington, D.C., to meet their member of Congress and be recognized at an awards reception on Capitol Hill. During their visit, students and teachers attend meetings with business, government, and education leaders to learn about fiscal policymaking, the role of the capital markets, and global economic trends as well as tour financial landmarks and national monuments.

“Our commitment to this program and Sifma Foundation stems from our belief in the power of financial education to enable people to achieve long-term financial success,” Schwab-Pomerantz said.

Since the Capitol Hill Challenge began in 2004, the program has coordinated more than 5,000 matches of U.S. representatives and senators with schools, reaching more than 125,000 students. Middle and high school students from all 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia are participating in this year’s competition.

Sifma Foundation’s Stock Market Game is designed to give students a better understanding of fiscal policymaking, capital markets, as well as global economic trends. It is proven to advance students’ performance on math and economics tests and improves students’ and teachers’ personal financial behavior, the organization said in a press release.

An independent study by Learning Point Associates found that students who participated in the Stock Market Game scored significantly higher on mathematics and financial literacy tests than their peers who did not participate. They also found that teachers who taught the Stock Market Game reported that the program motivated them to better plan for their own financial futures. The Stock Market Game has been named the only program that successfully increased scores on the Jumpstart Coalition’s test of high school students’ financial literacy.
Sifma Foundation also offers the Stock Market Game nationwide to schools for students in grades 4-12 to play. The program serves 15,000 teachers and 600,000 students annually. Teachers receive professional development and grade-level specific curriculum guides, lesson plans and newsletters to incorporate the program into their core mathematics, social studies, business, economics and language arts programs.