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SMART Start Financial Literacy
About Us SMART Start Financial Literacy

SMART Start Financial Literacy Program

Since 2013, Athens Federal Community Bank has committed more than $100,000 to bring financial literacy education to high school students across McMinn, Monroe, and Bradley counties by providing them with access to the Athens Federal SMART Start Financial Literacy learning platform, powered by EverFi™. This web-based program uses the latest in new media technology, including Level 4 simulations, avatars, gaming, and adaptive-pathing, to bring complex financial concepts to life for today’s digital generation. Through this platform, students will become certified in hundreds of topics in personal finance, empowering them to become more informed, responsible citizens.

Using the acronym SMART (Save, Make a Budget, Avoid debt, Resist overspending, and Think about your future) to define the overall objectives of the program, Athens Federal has partnered with EverFi to bring the SMART Start interactive financial management program to the following high schools across the bank’s service area at absolutely no cost to the schools:

  • McMinn County High School
  • McMinn Central High School
  • Tellico Plains High School
  • Bradley Central High School
  • Walker Valley High School
  • Cleveland High School

“As we face the worst economic situation in generations, it is more important than ever to arm young people with the skills to navigate an increasingly complex financial system,” said Jeff Cunningham, president and CEO of Athens Federal.

“We are thrilled to offer students an innovative educational experience that uses tools they enjoy and are familiar withdigital learning and gamingto teach this critical topic.”

According to a McMinn County High School student, “it is easier for students to learn by doing things they are used to doing. Technology is a part of everyday life for the normal student, and by doing these modules online, [students] feel more comfortable than if it were in a book.”

Another student commented, “I found the material to be engaging, comprehensive and very helpful . . . I feel like I learned a lot of real-world applications through the program and am more confident and well-equipped to handle my own financial responsibilities as an adult.”

The 10-unit course offers approximately six hours of programming aimed at teaching, assessing and certifying junior- and senior-level students in a variety of relevant financial topics including credit scores, insurance, credit cards, student loans, mortgages, taxes, stocks, 401K savings plans, and other essential concepts that adhere to the state of Tennessee’s Personal Finance curriculum requirement and national financial literacy standards. The platform uniquely tracks the progress and score of every student and provides students who successfully complete the course with Certification in Financial Literacy, a valuable mark of distinction on college applications and resumes.

“From the small rural towns to major cities across the US, EverFi technology is literally transforming how students learn, and we are incredibly grateful for the sponsorships that make this possible,” said EverFi CEO Tom Davidson. “Athens Federal is vital to the success of our mission to ensure these cutting-edge tools reach students in all communities.”

EverFi is the leading education technology platform company to teach, assess and certify students in critical skills including Financial Literacy, Student Loan Management, Digital Literacy, and Health and Wellness. The company is powering a national movement in 50 states that enables students to learn using the latest technology, including rich media, gaming, high-definition video, and simulations. EverFi teams with major corporations and foundations to provide the programs at no cost to schools. To date, more than 4 million students have completed the EverFi learning platforms. Learn more at


Contact us for additional information or to inquire about adding SMART Start to your curriculum.

Amanda Hayes
SMART Start Coordinator

SMART Start Stats
6 Active Schools
7,000+ Students Impacted
32,745 Total Estimated Hours of Learning
77% Average Improvement in Assessment Test Scores