News Releases

FINANCIAL LITERACY: Murray, Cochran Introduce Legislation to Help Americans Improve their Financial Decision-Making Skills

Apr 12 2011

Bipartisan bill would support the teaching of financial literacy to students and adults

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Thad Cochran (R-MS), introduced the Financial and Economic Literacy Improvement Act of 2011, which would help Americans of all ages become more financially literate by making sure states have the resources they need to teach financial literacy in K-12 schools and 2-and 4-year colleges.

“One lesson we’ve learned from this financial crisis is that Americans need to have stronger financial literacy skills so they can understand the fine print and not fall prey to predatory lending or scams,” said Senator Patty Murray. “This bill will make sure the federal government steps up to the plate and becomes a real partner in educating Americans to manage their finances and make good decisions about housing, employment, and education.”

“The economic downturn prompted some families to be more serious about savings and understanding their finances, but more progress would be beneficial to the long-term economic well-being of individuals and our nation,” Senator Thad Cochran said.

The Financial and Economic Literacy Improvement Act seeks to enhance the teaching of economic and personal finance principles across disciplines in K-12 education, and to make practical financial and economic courses more widely available to adults of any age through our higher education system, including 2- and 4-year colleges. This bill will better prepare today’s and tomorrow’s citizens for the numerous individual financial decisions needed to ensure prosperous, healthy, and productive communities.
 
To do this, the bill authorizes $250 million annually, over the next five years, to be given to states. The funding will be split into $125 million for K-12 education efforts and $125 million for adult financial literacy efforts at 2 and 4-year colleges.  The bill also includes a user-friendly clearinghouse of resources, tools, and best practices for financial and economic literacy education.
 
Senator Murray is a senior member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee that oversees education as well as a member of the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Committee that oversees Education funding.

Senator Cochran is also a senior member of the LHHS committee as well as the ranking Republican member of the full Appropriations Committee.