MADISON, Wis. (6/8/09)--In less than a decade, the credit union movement has helped nearly 5.4 million high school students receive financial literacy training through its support of the National Endowment for Financial Education's (NEFE) High School Financial Planning Program (HSFPP). This means that about five out of six HSFPP student guides are from America’s Credit Unions. Since the agreement between the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and NEFE took effect during the 1999-2000 school year, the America’s Credit Union logo has been displayed on the program’s financial planning materials, which were distributed to 5,373,000 students nationwide. CUNA, with help from CO-OP Financial Services, has provided monetary support for the continued distribution of the free materials. Credit unions and leagues have worked with NEFE to bring the HSFPP to more than 600,000 students since the 2000-2001 academic year--the first year CUNA began tracking credit unions' participation. “The successful partnership between NEFE and credit unions would not be possible unless CO-OP Financial Services stepped up to the plate and helped provide the funding needed to get this program into the hands of more high school students,” said Mark Condon, CUNA’s senior vice president of business and consumer publishing, whose department supervises the partnership with NEFE. “One of most reliable partners has been CO-OP’s President and CEO Stan Hollen, whose belief in the importance of financial education has never wavered, particularly now when the need to improve the rate of financial literacy has never been more obvious,” Condon added. NEFE developed the program in 1984 in response to studies indicating high school students' lack of financial knowledge as they graduate and move into the “real world.” The HSFPP student guide offers basic instruction to teenagers about such topics as personal finance planning, career/work factors and earnings potential, saving and spending money, investing, using credit wisely, protecting assets and identity, and obtaining and using financial services. It also teaches students to develop and maintain a personal spending and savings plan. The seven-unit program can be integrated into many standard classroom subjects. NEFE offers the program in partnership with CUNA and America's Credit Unions; the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service and participating Land-Grant University Cooperative Extension Services.