In 2013, Champlain College's Center for Financial Literacy gave Connecticut an "F" in its annual assessment of financial literacy for high school students. The report based this grade on the state's failure to require a personal finance class for teens - a graduation requirement 17 states now have in place. The report notes there have been several bills raised over the past six years that would have brought financial literacy into schools, but that none were enacted.
This session, the Banks Committee has raised House Bill 5490, An Act Concerning Financial Literacy, which requires the Department of Education and Board Regents to work with the Department of Banking on developing a plan to implement financial literacy training for all high school students in their senior year, and for all freshman enrolled at the state's universities and community colleges. The bill also includes provisions that would require additional information be provided to college students when they sign-up for credit cards from companies that advertise on campus and when they use campus ATMs. CAHS testified in support of this measure, while asking for a more robust financial education component to be considered that would be incorporated through out all four high school years, during a public hearing on March 11th. Financial literacy education is critical for the young people of our state, as the research shows students nationwide are heavily in debt and have very little understanding of financial products and how borrowing works.[i] Additional resources and information can be found in the linked testimony available above. We will continue to track this legislation throughout the session.
[i] Meta Brown, Wilbert van der Klaauw, Jaya Wen, and Basit Zafar. “Financial Education and the Debt Behavior of the Young”, Federal Reserve Bank of New York Staff Reports, no. 634, September 2013; revised February 2014.