Herron Keyon Gaston

State Senator

Herron Keyon Gaston

Deputy Majority Leader

Empowering Communities, Driving Change

May 9, 2023

Senator Gaston Supports Senate Passage Of Bill Adding Financial Literacy To Graduation Requirements

Today, state Senator Herron Keyon Gaston (D-Bridgeport) supports State Senate passage of a bill that will add personal financial management and financial literacy to the high school graduation requirements. These will be required beginning with the graduating class of 2027.

Senate Bill 1165, ‘An Act Concerning Financial Literacy Instruction,” passed the State Senate with a vote of 35-1 and now heads to the House of Representatives.

“When I was in high school I took Geometry, and I could not tell you about the formulas I learned but what I can tell you about is financial literacy and what I have become appointed to over the years as a result of my mastery of financial literacy,” said Sen. Gaston. “I think it’s important for students to know how to balance a checkbook. The community of Bridgeport will now have the opportunity to give students a better understanding of how to keep their finances in order. This financial literacy program will help drive individuals and their families out of poverty.”

Under Senate Bill 1165, a student will need a half of a credit of personal financial management and financial literacy in order to graduate High School. Currently, a student needs 25 total credits to graduate. Adding financial literacy to the list of credits needed does not increase the necessary credits for graduation. Adding a half credit will decrease 3 credits necessary for electives to 2.5.

Financial literacy includes banking, investing, savings, the handling of personal finance matters, and the impact of using credit cards and debit cards.

According to Forbes.com, over 60% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck and can’t set aside any money for short-term or long-term financial goals. It’s not just a problem affecting low-income families: 41% of Americans earning between $150,000 to $200,000 per year live paycheck to paycheck. Credit card and student loan debt are at an all-time high. And it begins with education. Financially literate individuals have an understanding of basic financial concepts and can apply those skills in their own life. The sooner students understand these concepts, the better, especially if they come from backgrounds without prioritizing financial literacy.

According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), 53% of individuals with a higher financial literacy spent less than their income, and 65% had set aside a three-month emergency fund. In comparison, 35% of individuals with lower financial literacy spent less than they earned, and 42% had a three-month emergency fund set aside. When you learn how money works at a young age, you have the necessary skills to make positive financial decisions as an adult.