Business Law Section of The Florida Bar, Chamber, 43 Legislators Unite on Critical Education Issue

Posted on February 21, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Tallahassee, Fla. – The Business Law Section of The Florida Bar Association and the Florida Chamber of Commerce have come together to support one of the most important education issues in the coming 2014 legislative session.

House Bill 367 and Senate Bill 212, together known as “The Money Course,” would require a full semester financial literacy course for high school students.

The legislation is a recommendation of a statewide coalition led by the Florida Council on Economic Education, and comes on the heels of recent studies indicating that nearly half of Florida’s high school seniors lack understanding of financial basics like income, credit, insurance and more.

“We want to empower young people with the finance skills that will take them into young adulthood and beyond,” said Stephen Nagin, Chairman of the Business Law Section of The Florida Bar Association. “Dedicating a semester to financial literacy will help set them up for success over the long term.”

“Florida’s students aren’t the only ones hurt by financial illiteracy,” said David Hart, Vice President of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “Our state’s businesses, small and large, suffer when our young adults lack the fundamental financial knowledge to contribute to Florida’s economy. And sound personal finances are a top factor employers consider when hiring.”

The Business Law Section of The Florida Bar Association and the Florida Chamber of Commerce join a number of other leading organizations supporting ‘The Money Course’ legislation, including The Florida Bankers Association, the Florida Prosperity Partnership and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

“We are grateful for the united support of Florida’s leading business and legal institutions,” said Geoff Simon, Chairman of the Florida Council on Economic Education. “The Business Law Section of The Florida Bar and Florida Chamber recognize that ‘The Money Course’ is essential to ensuring our students are prepared for the real world after school.”

The House legislation is sponsored by Reps. Heather Fitzenhagen and Manny Diaz and has received the support of 34 co-sponsors.  The Senate legislation is sponsored by Senator Dorothy Hukill and has received the support of 9 Senate co-sponsors.

Background:

A recent study by the National Endowment for Financial Education found that students in states with required financial education courses are more likely to save, pay off their credit cards, and take average financial risks, and less likely to be compulsive buyers, max out credit, or make late payments compared to students in other states.

State legislators and the Florida Council on Economic Education are calling for an inexpensive, half-credit, full-semester financial literacy course known as “The Money Course” to ensure Florida’s students are prepared to enter adulthood and make sound financial choices, especially in light of recent statistics showing sharp rises in bankruptcies and student loan defaults among young people age 20-24. The report also detailed alarming statistics regarding young people and their finances. Almost 20 percent of student loan debt is not being repaid, with a national default rate of 9.1 percent (up from 4.6 percent in 2007), 76 percent of students don’t keep records of their spending, 25 percent of students feel unprepared to pay for college and only 11 percent of those under age 35 participate in their company’s 401k plan.

The recommendation for a full semester course came from the 2013 Florida Financial Literacy Summit hosted by the Florida Council on Economic Education. For more information, visit www.RequireTheMoneyCourse.com.  

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