Legislation requiring financial literacy instruction for all Oklahoma secondary school students to help them avoid money problems in their adult years has been given final approval by the state Legislature and will now be considered by the Governor.
House Bill 1476, the Passport to Financial Literacy Act, authored by Rep. Ann Coody and Sen. Clark Jolley, would allow school districts to decide whether the components of personal financial literacy instruction would be incorporated into one or more existing courses of study or into a new course. Students could be instructed in the elements of personal financial literacy throughout grades seven through twelve.
“It’s important that we give young people the tools to adequately manage their money before they move on to college and their adult lives,” said Jolley, R-Edmond. “College students and young adults have greater access to credit cards than ever before and need to be equipped with an understanding of how to spend and save responsibly. We want to help students develop good financial management habits at an early age in order to avoid problems with debt.”
Coody noted that research indicated American teens (age 12-15) spend more than $100 a week and 20 percent have at least one credit card. The average college senior has over $7,000 in debt, four credit cards and no job.
“So many young people in Oklahoma are not receiving good training in the home on even simple financial matters like how to put together a budget or how to use checking and savings accounts properly,” said Coody, R-Lawton. “So when they get to college, and as they move into their adult years, many of them are facing debt problems and even bankruptcy. We should make an effort to help them understand their personal finances to help them succeed in life.”
In 2003 Oklahoma ranked in the top six states in the nation for bankruptcy filings.
HB 1476 was approved by the state Senate on Wednesday, by a vote of 41 to 5, after passing the House on a 97-2 vote earlier this week. The bill will now advance to the Governor.