Nobody likes to be at the bottom of the rankings, and Louisiana state representative Nicholas Muscarello is working to make sure that Louisiana is no longer ranked 50th in terms of financial literacy education by proposing House Bill 103. HB 103 would see the Gulf Coast state join the eighteen other “gold standard” states for financial literacy education by requiring all high school students to pass a one-semester Personal Financial Literacy (PFL) class to graduate. The bill, co-sponsored by Scott McKnight, has been referred to the Committee on Education for study before, hopefully, receiving a passing vote on the House floor.
Louisiana is currently graded as a “C” by the American Public Education Foundation for financial literacy education. It has some integrated financial literacy standards in grades K-8, and high school students who take Civics for their senior year social studies requirement also receive some financial literacy education.
State Groups Ready to Assist With Financial Literacy Ed
If HB 103 goes the distance and ends up with a signature from Governor John Bel Edwards, several nonprofits and government entities in Louisiana can assist in getting high school teachers ready to teach the new course. The Louisiana Bankers Association (LBA) maintains a thorough financial literacy resources page on its website, including many geared specifically toward teachers. The Louisiana Business Resource Group has an engaging webpage covering the five basics of financial literacy.
The Personal Financial Literacy Instruction Clearinghouse also provides a thorough list of education resources, officially curated to cover the state financial literacy education standards. These are the embedded financial literacy standards required for high school curriculum beginning in 2019. This reveals that Louisiana is well-positioned to take the next step and require a standalone class, as the standards exist and have already been linked with educational resources.
For higher education, the Louisiana Board of Regents has created a Financial Literacy Program as part of its Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOFSA). Although the program is tailored to college students and intended for use by colleges and universities within the state, it does offer financial aid presentations to high schools. These can be scheduled online by high schools to prepare older teens for the rigors of funding their higher education.
Colleges and universities across the state offer their own financial literacy education programs, including Delgado Community College in New Orleans. Its Financial Literacy page offers simple resources that can benefit the general public. Similarly, the state’s flagship university, Louisiana State University (LSU), also offers financial literacy resources that are useful to the public. The University of Louisiana at Lafayette has similar resources for the public as well, including downloadable PowerPoint slides that could be used to design a personal financial literacy curriculum for high school seniors.
One nonprofit that is focused on improving financial literacy among Louisianans is Magnolia CDC, a community development corporation founded in 2010. Magnolia CDC operates the Financial Literacy Instruction Program, or FLIP. FLIP intends to educate high school students participating in the Upward Bound program by using resources provided by the FDIC.