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Financial Capability

More than half of Americans report living paycheck-to-paycheck and experiencing financial crisis because of inadequate savings, too much debt, and poor planning. USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) coordinates with expert partners to help people acquire the knowledge, skills, and motivation they need to build financial security - the cornerstone of prosperous communities, nurturing neighborhoods, and strong families.


NIFA funds applied research that measures behavioral outcomes and focuses on how individuals and families obtain and use money, time, human capital, material, and community services.

Education and Extension

Formal and non-formal educational programs for families and consumers can help them learn the lifelong skills of creating and sticking with a spending and savings plan and making strategic investment decisions. Community-based education can help them obtain skills to own a home or small business, avoid abusive lending practices, and take a long-term view of their financial futures. Cooperative Extension offers programs that provide unbiased, research-based information and education via courses, web-based curricula, and other educational outlets for people to acquire knowledge, skills, and motivation to build financial security.

Partner Education

NIFA partners with the Land-Grant University System and other multi-state partners to foster the three dimensions of financial capability: 1) knowledge and understanding; 2) skills and competence; and 3) responsibility. NIFA serves on the Financial Literacy and Education Commission to promote a national strategy for financial literacy.

Higher Education

Family financial planning degree and certification programs are offered through the Great Plains Distance Education Alliance (GPIDEA) and the Family and Consumer Sciences Distance Instructional Alliance. Consumer and family economics programs of study are offered at the bachelors, masters, and doctoral levels on some campuses.


Program type
Emphasis Area Program

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