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Reports from Policy Analysts

Will Massachusetts pass financial literacy legislation?

Submitted On: Saturday, August 27, 2016

Analyst: Doiley, Pamela

Massachusetts is one of approximately twelve states that does not require schools to offer financial education courses to its students.[1] Since 2005 state legislators in both the House and the Senate have filed over forty bills to promote financial literacy. None have ever passed. This may change in the wake of a 2015 Champlain report in which Massachusetts was one of several states to receive an “F” for its lack of any established requirements for personal finance coursework.[2]


Massachusetts Senate Bill 2254: An Act relative to financial literacy in schools has been referred to the Senate Ways and Means Committee. It mandates K-12 integration of financial literacy standards and objectives within ‘the existing mathematics, social studies, technology or other curricula where teachers have the capacity to teach.’ Components of personal financial literacy covered in the standards and objectives include: understanding loans; borrowing money; interest; credit card debt; online commerce; rights and responsibilities of renting or buying a home; saving, investing and planning for retirement; banking and financial services; balancing a checkbook; state and federal taxes; and charitable giving.[3]


Nationwide, there is growing concern and acknowledgment of the average citizen’s inability and/or limitations in understanding how to manage, invest, and earn money. Reports reveal that the lack of financial knowledge is “especially acute among young adults.” [4]Massachusetts S.B.2254 acknowledges and validates research showing a correlation between financial literacy in secondary schools and ‘healthy financial behaviors in life.’ [5]

[1] Pelliter, John. 2015 National Report Card On State Efforts to Improve Financial Literacy in High Schools. Burlington: Champlain College, 2015.

[5] Margaret S. Sherraden, Financial Capability in Children: Effects of Participation in a School-Based Financial Education and Savings Program, (St Louis, MO: Center for Social Development,



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