Other simulations run over the course of days, while Budget Challenge® is played for 10 weeks giving students the experience of two billing cycles. Many simulations are based in the classroom and when the student leaves class the simulation is put on hold until class resumes. Like real life, the Budget Challenge® simulation is a 24/7 responsibility and does not end when students leave the classroom. Students are immersed in the adult world of budgeting, handling unexpected financial events, managing their cash flow to ensure bills are paid on time, all while contributing to their 401(k) retirement account.
Unlike other simulations, Budget Challenge® is also a competition that scores and ranks students based on how well they save, answer weekly open book quiz questions, and manage their financial responsibilities (pay bills and manage their credit card balance). Eligible students compete for college scholarships. Students compete with their classmates and nationally against all other students in their simulation. See the Overview page for more information on scoring and prizes.
Our program is more than a simulation. We provide teacher materials and resources that integrate with the game scenario. Through the use of our Road Map and Starting Line teachers are guided through the simulation week-by-week. The easy to use Pit Stops and Test Drives provide the teacher with a quick refresher on the topic and student activities to use in the classroom.
Budget Challenge® prides itself on providing excellent customer service through our help desk. Students and teachers have access to an online help desk where their emails are received and responded to by live people.
Our program aligns with CEE and Jump$tart national standards and goes well beyond teaching vocabulary and financial concepts by putting these topics into action with simulated real world consequences.
Participating teachers are surveyed at the end of each simulation and their feedback is used to continuously provide improvements to the program.
We provide teachers with student end of simulation survey results giving them a way to measure the success of the program. Compiled effectiveness data is available at www.budgetchallenge.com.