U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan introduces financial literacy legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a time when young people often find themselves drowning in debt from student loans and credit cards, and some students graduate from high school without knowing how to write a check, members of Congress are taking notice.

Thursday, U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., joined fellow Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Doug Jones, D-Ala., introduced legislation to establish a competitive grant program at the U.S. Department of Education to help states build in-school financial literacy programs. The goal is to encourage community partnerships to promote financial literacy among school-age youth.

“This bill will support the future financial well-being of young Granite Staters and Americans by establishing federal grant programs for states to build financial literacy programs in schools and to encourage community partnerships to promote financial literacy among school-aged students,” Hassan said.

“As we work to support job creation and expand economic opportunity for our young people, we also need to ensure that students are prepared to navigate their current and future finances, including student loan obligations, paying bills on time, establishing good credit, and even planning for retirement,” she added.

Officially known as the Youth Financial Learning Act of 2018, senators said the legislation would create a grant for local school districts to implement, expand, or sustain financial literacy curriculum with the goal of enhancing student understanding of personal and consumer finance, including a focus on personal credit and student loan borrowing.

Gillibrand, one of up to 40 Democrats positioning him or herself for a 2020 presidential run, said she is proud to co-sponsor this legislation.

“Financial literacy education will help students make smart financial decisions for their entire lives,” Gillibrand said. “Congress should pass this legislation to ensure that our students are equipped with these critical skills as they begin to prepare for their adult lives.”

Alabama, Jones’s is among the few states to already require personal finance education as a graduation requirement.

“These days, many high school juniors and seniors are making big financial decisions that will follow them the rest of their adult lives,” Jones said.

“Without strong financial literacy skills, they may not have the tools they need to fully understand the long-term impacts of these decisions. It’s important that we prepare them for these financial choices well before they will need to make them, whether they are looking to take out loans for college now or eventually preparing to buy their first home or start their own business,” Jones added.