What's New

Available Now — A Completely Redesigned Mobile App

We've finally released our newest version of the Bill Pay Companion App for iOS and Android. The app enables students to view their bills and pay them on the go. Now, students will be able to see when their bills are due, the total amount due, and the next invoice date in a single screen. Checks can be written or deleted right from the Bill Pay screen. Students will also be able to view dashboard alerts and checking account activity in the app.

Teachers can get in on the action too by using a Teacher Play account. Once your sim has started, you'll be able to use the app as a student and pay bills on the go as well. All Teacher tools from the previous version of the app have been integrated into the Teacher Home Dashboard.

The app is available now as an update to the Budget Challenge app on the iOS App Store and Google Play Store.

National Class Rankings

Curious to see where your class stands among the best in the nation? You can now view your class ranking based on overall avg class points scored on the National Class Ranking Leaderboard. This leaderboard is only available to registered users and only shows your class' team name. No school or teacher information is shared in this view.

Optimized for remote learning.

In today's ever changing environment for teachers, we've made key updates to our program to improve teacher flexibility and ease of use while remote.

  • Full curriculum available immediately. We've opened up our curriculum so that all units are immediately available. This way, students and teachers can jump around, rearrange, and even read ahead.
  • Curriculum material now printer-friendly. We've added a print option at the top of each unit, which will preview a more printer-friendly format without videos and sidebars, so that materials can be handed out offline.
  • Quiz question/answer keys available immediately. Our quiz results module now shows question/answer keys to teachers as soon as they open, even for quizzes that open before the simulation starts. 
  • OneNote notebook with curriculum and quizzes available.If your class uses OneNote, we've compiled our curriculum into a OneNote notebook. Contact our helpdesk at support@budgetchallenge.freshdesk.com to learn more!
  • Continuous review of student and teacher feedback. We welcome all feedback to improve our program and will continue to implement features to help assist with this new unknown teaching environment.

Check out what's coming in 2020-2021!

We are continually growing and improving our simulation along with resources we make available to our users.

  • In print soon! - Full Digital Textbook that expands curriculum to fill 16 weeks (includes real-world application activities)
  • Now in Beta - Customizable quiz scheduling - now you can re-order the lessons and quizzes to the way you teach
  • Stock Market-like trading in your 401(k) – for College and advanced High Schools
  • Teacher planning guide with lesson suggestions
  • Now live - Class leaderboards for increased competition
  • Parent Engagement scripts and surveys to extend learning at home
  • Live Help Desk now has a full-time dedicated Teacher Success Champion
The Budget Challenge written curriculum will be transitioning to a chapter format with new chapters on budgeting basics, spending and consumer protection, purchasing or leasing a vehicle, renting and home ownership, and the next step-life after high school. Each chapter will now include review questions and activities teachers may assign.

2019-2020 Updates

Simulations now start every week

With simulations starting every Thursday, teachers can select the simulation dates that works best for them. Take a look at our simulation schedule for relevant deadlines.  Students can also register for a simulation up to 3 weeks in advance (was 2 weeks) which can allow more time to make a budget and establish a game plan.

Trophies and Updated Scoring

One of the biggest changes this year is to the scoring. We wanted a way to help students prioritize among competing financial goals. With that in mind, there are now six trophies that students can earn during the simulation. Each trophy is worth 1,000 points and represents an essential financial skill. The trophy points are added on top of the previous scoring system to encourage students to practice the skills that adults struggle most with. The six trophies are awarded to students that accomplish the following:

  • Create an emergency fund
  • Pay off a credit card
  • Save for retirement
  • Pay bills on-time
  • Protect credit health
  • Pay down student loan debt

Privacy and Protecting Student Data

The default version of Budget Challenge now requires zero student PII (personally identifiable information). This is a true breakthrough in protecting students and we are excited to be on the cutting edge. In a world where data breaches are common, most address this problem with lengthy data protection agreements and additional required security protocols. With Budget Challenge requiring no PII, we eliminate any potential for harm. This approach is clearly safer than adding extra deadbolts to the doors. See our updated privacy policy for details.

Recognizing Sponsors

We understand that funding may be an issue at some schools. In order to encourage sponsorship, Budget Challenge now can display the logo of sponsors to teachers and students. This is a great way to recognize the generosity of sponsors that make a difference in the financial lives of students at the regional and local levels. Learn more about becoming a sponsor.

Custom Display of Leaderboard

The leaderboard is a powerful motivator for students to stay engaged. However, highlighting those at the bottom was never the intention. Teachers can choose whether to display the entire leaderboard, just the top five or ten students, or just turn it off.

Updated Quizzes and Integrated Curriculum

Our curriculum has been revised and updated with valid and reliable quiz questions, along with the options to include performance tasks in grading provide multiple assessment options for teachers. And we have listened to teachers who requested we separate quiz scores from the overall score. Teachers who wish to include them may manually add them if they choose, while those who want to use quiz grades as a separate category can do so.

Now fully optimized for OneNote in the Classroom

We have completed final testing of Budget Challenge in the Microsoft OneNote Class Notebook environment. With a few clicks the teacher can distribute individual copies of the Budget and Cash Flow spreadsheet and complete curriculum to each class. The teacher can also look at the current status of each student's budget without having students emailing them. So, if you are already using OneNote in the classroom, we have our curriculum and tools ready and waiting for you. Email the help desk at support@budgetchallenge.freshdesk.com if you are interested in this no additional cost option.