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GAO financial literacy report

The Government Accountability Office (GAO), with the assistance of the Financial Literacy and Education Commission (Commission), has released an overview of federal activities, programs, and challenges regarding the financial literacy programs and activities currently conducted by eleven federal agencies and the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (CFPB). GAO observed improvements or successes in four areas—coordination, partnerships, delineating CFPB's role, and evaluation tools—but significant work remains to be done in one major area—determining the most effective and efficient allocation of federal resources.

  • Coordination. Coordination among federal agencies has improved in recent years, largely due to the role of the Commission. Recent efforts include a research clearinghouse and a coordinated initiative on youth education.
  • Partnerships. The Commission has continued to build and promote partnerships. Several initiatives have partnered with academics, nonprofits, and other entities.
  • Delineating CFPB's role. To help avoid unnecessary overlap, CFPB has further delineated its role in financial literacy efforts, discussing respective roles with federal agencies that have overlapping responsibilities and signing agreements on cooperation and areas of focus.
  • Evaluation tools. The Commission and CFPB have helped develop and disseminate evaluation tools to assess outcomes and effectiveness of financial literacy programs. CFPB also contracted with a company to develop metrics and outcome measures and with a nonprofit to evaluate and report on financial education programs and activities.
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