As a student at the University of Denver, I feel strongly that financial literacy needs to be updated to the curriculum in high schools.
While I was in high school, I was never taught the importance of planning for retirement or the best ways to apply for a student loan, and I know many students who shared this experience. Someone who takes advantage of loans to finance their education needs know choosing a loan option is a decision that will follow them for years to come. I wish the personal finance curriculum in high school provided a better sense of the many types of loans – private, public, fixed interest, etc. – and the risk of defaulting on loans, as well as the implications for future saving plans.
Looking back, many of my peers now realize that they could have saved thousands, perhaps even tens of thousands of dollars on their educations and used that money toward better investing in their futures. I know I am not alone when I say that the process is intimidating and confusing, especially when you are just starting to learn what it means to be financially independent. I know being familiarized with the process is extremely helpful and can make a big difference in high schoolers’ lives.
Senator Nancy Todd and Representative Brittany Pettersen are working on a bill that will add student loan debt and retirement planning education to the Colorado Public School financial planning curriculum. Today, 56 percent of college graduates in Colorado face student debt and as of 2014, the average student debt of graduates is $25,064.
Loan debt and retirement planning are two major issues facing our state today and can be easily addressed earlier with our youth to better prepare them for their future. This important piece of legislation will help Coloradans better manage their finances and learn more about debt and savings for the future.
Kieran Doyle, Vice President, Roosevelt @ DU