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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: January 23, 2015 03:07 PM
From: Senator Anthony H. Williams
To: All Senate members
Subject: Resolution: Financial Literacy in Schools Cost Study
In the near future, I will introduce a resolution directing the Legislative Budget & Finance Committee to determine the cost of administering a financial literacy curriculum to ensure high school students understand personal finance before graduation and before they are legally responsible for incurring debt.

Currently, Pennsylvania schools may, but are not required to, teach most personal finance concepts that are included in the state academic standards. The Task Force on Economic Education and Personal Financial Literacy Education, authorized by Act 104 of 2010, found that only 7.5% of Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts require a personal finance course to graduate. What is worse is 15% do not offer any personal finance education at all. As a result, Pennsylvanians now score below the national average on financial literacy tests.

Inspired by recommendations from the Task Force’s report, I authored a bill called “Financial Literacy in Schools” that will ensure that all students in Pennsylvania receive a thorough and efficient education in personal finance before incurring overdraft fees, student loans, and credit card debt. First, it will require the Department of Education to create stand-alone academic standards in personal finance to be taught from kindergarten through 12th grade in all public schools. Second, all students must complete a capstone course in personal finance before graduation. Third, it will create an Office of Personal Finance Education within the Department of Education that will work with schools, the Department of Treasury, and private-sector stakeholders to create a curriculum that is easily adaptable to the fast-changing landscape of personal finance.

This resolution will direct the Legislative Budget & Finance Committee to study how much the above program would cost. In other states, these programs are relatively inexpensive. My bill allows funding through an appropriation, nominal fees on unclaimed property, and/or corporate and private donations to the Personal Finance Education Fund administered by the Department of Treasury.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation to ensure today’s teenagers become fiscally responsible adults within this Commonwealth.

Pennsylvania has some of the highest costs for public, private and community college education in the nation. Pennsylvania funds public higher education at approximately 50 percent of the national average. In Pennsylvania, an estimated 71 percent of students graduate with debt, with the average of $32,258 per student.

This resolution is part of the multi-faceted College Access Plan (CAP). CAP is a comprehensive package of legislation designed to improve student access to higher education, reduce student debt and jump-start Pennsylvania's economy.

Introduced as SR22