Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Michael Butcher

Abstract

Consumer research has indicated that financially uneducated adults who live in rural areas often make poor financial decisions that plague them for decades. As a result of increased home foreclosures, student loan defaults, and bankruptcies, policymakers at the state and federal level, business leaders, academic communities, and non-profit agencies have identified a need for quality financial education programs. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of a financial literacy program created for financially uneducated adults living in a rural community, as measured by participants' perceptions of their financial concepts knowledge and financial management ability after program completion. The conceptual framework was guided by the transtheoretical model of change theory, which holds that an individual's behavior and beliefs affect his or her surroundings and self-perceptions. Data were collected from 36 former program participants through a mailed 3-part survey developed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Company. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and one-sample chi-square tests to determine whether responses to 3 survey items measuring knowledge gain and improved ability to manage finances were equally distributed. The tests were significant and indicated that all participants (100%) agreed/strongly agreed that they were more financially knowledgeable after the financial literacy program and could use what they learned independently. Most participants (86%) also reported that, after completing the financial literacy program, they were better able manage their finances on their own. Implications for positive social change include providing research-based findings to the program administrators, which may assist in promoting the program and improving the financial literacy of the adults in this rural community.

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