DENVER, CO– The House today preliminarily approved HB21-1200 on second reading. The bipartisan bill, which is sponsored by Representatives Kipp and Rich, would improve financial literacy standards to help ninth through 12th graders better understand financial products, focusing specifically on higher education loans and financial assistance.
“By improving our financial literacy programs, we can help ensure that more Coloradans have the knowledge and tools they need to make life changing financial decisions,” said Rep. Cathy Kipp, D-Fort Collins. “When we help young people better understand the complicated and high stakes financial decisions they’re making, we can set them on a path to success. This bill would ensure that Colorado students learn about all the financial products they may encounter along the way to paying for higher education and other important obligations.”
HB21-1200 would require the Department of Education to include higher education planning tools in financial literacy standards the next time they are updated. Financial literacy standards for ninth through 12th graders would ensure students understand the costs associated with obtaining a degree, managing credit card and student loan debt, buying a home, and saving for retirement. The bill adds how to budget and pay for higher education and how to manage student loan debt to the suggested financial literacy curriculum and requires school districts to inform students and parents about the importance of applying for state and federal financial aid.
In Colorado, more than 743,000 people have student loan debt, with an average debt burden of more than $38,000. Coloradans carry approximately $28.6 billion in student debt. The federal free application for student aid (FAFSA) helps determine a student’s eligibility for financial aid. Research shows that high school seniors who complete the FAFSA are 84 percent more likely to enroll in postsecondary education. Providing students with financial literacy assistance can help them begin building the assets they need for financial stability later in life.