Beginning this fall, with the Class of 2027, public high school students in Connecticut will be required to complete a half-credit course in personal financial management and financial literacy in order to graduate. The legislation was approved in the Senate by a vote of 35 to 1 and in the House of Representatives, 138 to 12. Gov. Ned Lamont signed the bill into law on July 19.
“Personal financial management is one of the most important instructional tools that we can give young people to achieve economic independence and stability throughout their lives, and requiring it to graduate from high school is simply common sense,” Lamont stated. “This course will help give every student a better shot at financial success, particularly those who are not fortunate enough to be given the opportunity or the resources to receive this kind of instruction at home. Financial education is as important as math, science and reading. I am proud to sign this bill into law, and I thank the overwhelming majority of legislators who sent it to my desk.”
Deputy Republican Leader Paul Cicarella (R-North Haven) and Chief Deputy Republican Leader Henri Martin (R-Bristol) applauded the signing of the bipartisan S.B. 1165. The Republican lawmakers had proposed the concept of financial literacy for high school students in an earlier bill, S.B. 18.
“Thank you to the Governor for signing this legislation for the benefit of Connecticut’s future workforce. The first step to a successful career is understanding the value of a dollar, and the cause and effects of how you spend your money. This is exactly why I joined Senator Martin to research and introduce this concept last year,” said Cicarella. “We had the privilege of engaging with numerous students, school counselors and educators to craft a proposal that will work. I was astonished that a significant number of young people are unfamiliar with the expenses related to essentials like their phone bill or groceries. This new law will equip them to navigate financial challenges with confidence and avoid the burden of debt. Entering adulthood without debt will pave the way for their prosperity in the state.”
Martin echoed those remarks, stating, “Our children are our future, and giving them real-life building blocks and knowledge to maintain financial stability will prepare them for their future.” He added, “Less than half of all Americans have more than $1,000 in their savings. It is imperative that we begin introducing financial literacy to our students in their teenage years, teaching them the fundamentals of finance.”
The Connecticut State Board of Education will provide curriculum and resources to help local school boards develop the finance-related courses, which must include instruction on banking, investing, savings, the handling of personal finance matters and the impact of using credit cards and debit cards.