Jun 07, 2023

Press Release: Connecticut is the 21st State to Guarantee a Personal Finance Course for ALL high schoolers!

HARTFORD, Conn. - Governor Ned Lamont has signed into law Senate Bill 1165, a bipartisan piece of legislation that makes Connecticut the 21st state to guarantee a standalone personal finance course for high school students.

Connecticut students, parents, teachers, lawmakers, community leaders, business leaders, and a former NFL player are all applauding this effort.

“After teaching my first semester of personal finance in 2007, I knew this class was important for all high school students,” said Barbara Angelicola-Manzolli, a personal finance teacher from Lewis S. Mills High School in Burlington whose visits to Hartford galvanized the bill’s progress. “This spring, current and former students joined me at the Capitol to testify in support of Senate Bill 1165. They showed the Education Committee how impactful this class had been on their lives, and demonstrated why we needed to make this course a requirement for all high school students. I am so proud of my students’ role in inspiring Connecticut to pass this historic law.”

“Senate Bill 1165 makes financial literacy a foundational piece of the future for Connecticut high school students,” said State Representative Jeff Currey (D-East Hartford, Manchester), House Chair of the Education Committee in the Connecticut General Assembly. “It is clear that adding financial literacy as a graduation requirement will help students make informed decisions when it comes to banking, investing, and protecting their money overall. This is empowering legislation to facilitate future financial independence.”

The newly signed law requires high school students to take a standalone, one-semester personal finance course starting with the 9th grade entering class in the 2023-2024 school year. The course can fulfill existing graduation requirements within social studies or electives.

“I am happy to have co-sponsored and advocated for this vital bipartisan proposal for the financial benefit of our young people,” said Rep. Tom Delnicki (R-South Windsor). “If we want young people to succeed in life, we have to make sure we give them the tools they need to thrive. Financial literacy is key to living a successful life, and if you know how to manage your finances, you’ll be able to manage your life.”

"Lawmakers and advocates built momentum over several years in order to ensure this bill’s ultimate success in 2023,” said Salisbury native Christian Sherrill of the NGPF Mission 2030 Fund, a nonprofit that advocates for this policy in all states. “Because of the tenacity of Connecticut’s students, educators, community advocates, business leaders, and lawmakers, our state is now on the leading edge of the nationwide movement to guarantee all high school students a comprehensive personal finance course.”

Research has found that comprehensive financial education courses in high school have many beneficial impacts including:

  • Managing credit better with credit scores increasing and delinquency rates falling,
  • Making better decisions about student debt including shifting to lower interest loans, avoiding credit card debt, and limiting private loans,
  • Reducing the likelihood of taking out expensive payday loans,
  • Increasing savings rates among teachers, and
  • Generating positive spillover effects on parents.

"Financial literacy empowers marginalized communities and lays the foundation for building generational wealth, once unattainable to so many within Connecticut,” said Rep. Corey Paris (D-Stamford), who co-sponsored the bill. “These classes help narrow the opportunity gap between students who are well-prepared for future financial realities after high school and those who are left to fend for themselves. We have one chance to teach all students these important life skills, and that is before they leave our high schools. Together with teachers, families, and communities, we can usher in a new era of generational wealth in Connecticut."

Jordan Reed, New London native and retired NFL veteran (Washington, San Francisco) teamed up with Karen Talamelli-Cusick, a Woodbridge resident and Executive Vice President of social impact organization Impact Wayv, to bring crucial attention to the bill this spring.

“I was fortunate leaving high school to enjoy a great playing career, but with that came difficult financial decisions and temptations,” said Mr. Reed. “Now as a father of two, it’s my sincere hope that my children will be taught and given the personal finance tools to make informed and responsible decisions for life after high school. I don’t just want this for my kids, though,” continued Mr. Reed, “I want this for all of our kids. I’m proud to have played a role in helping Connecticut make that a reality.”

“Being financially illiterate is costly,” said Mrs. Talamelli-Cusick. “This legislation will go a long way to ensure that Connecticut high school graduates have the tools they need to make sound financial decisions, positively impacting their future. As a financial literacy advocate it has been thrilling to witness Connecticut’s commitment to ensuring access to personal finance education is offered on a level playing field."

About Next Gen Personal Finance (NGPF)

NGPF is a national nonprofit dedicated to providing the best personal finance curriculum and professional development to teachers across all 50 states, and does so at no cost. NGPF has become the "one-stop shop" for more than 80,000 educators looking for high-quality, engaging personal finance curriculum to equip students with the skills they need to thrive in the future. NGPF invests in teacher professional development with live Virtual PD workshops, Certification Courses, and 40+ asynchronous On-Demand modules. NGPF has been recognized by Common Sense Education as a "Selection for Learning," "Top Website for Teachers to Find Lesson Plans," and "Best Business and Finance Games."

About NGPF Mission 2030 Fund

NGPF created an affiliated organization in 2021, NGPF Mission 2030 Fund, to provide technical assistance and invest in state-specific advocacy, as with SB1165 in Connecticut. NGPF’s free personal finance curriculum is recognized as the model curriculum by the Connecticut State Department of Education.

About the Author

Christian Sherrill

Former teacher, forever financial education nerd. As NGPF's Director of Growth & Advocacy, Christian is laser-focused on our mission to guarantee all students a rigorous personal finance course before crossing the high school graduation stage. Having paid down over $40k in student loans in the span of 3 years - while living in the Bay Area on an entry level teacher's salary - he's eager to help the next generation avoid financial pitfalls one semester at a time.

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