In an effort to help consumers better understand how to manage their financial resources and plan for expenses such as college, U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) joined onto a bill this week that would increase and improve financial literacy educational opportunities for students and adults in Minnesota and across the country.
The Financial Literacy Act of 2013, originally introduced by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), would improve and enhance standards for financial literacy education--including consumer, economic, and personal finance concepts--in both K-12 and higher education institutions. You can read more about the bill here.
"Managing personal finances and budgeting for expenses like college is something that nearly every Minnesotan has to do," said Sen. Franken. "Simply put, these are foundational skills that everybody needs to know. This bill will increase educational opportunities for students and adults alike so they can better understand important financial concepts to help with their day-to-day finances and plan for the future."
Sen. Franken has long been a leader in helping consumers understand their debts and finances, especially when it comes to making college more affordable for Minnesota students and their families. He's hosted a series of College Affordability Roundtables around Minnesota to hear directly from students, families, and higher education officials on what can be done to improve higher education. And for the past two years, he's sent his staff out into communities statewide to hold "College Affordability Resource Nights." This past June, Sen. Franken reintroduced his bipartisan Understanding the True Cost of College Act, which would create a universal financial aid award letter so that students and their families can easily compare financial aid packages from different schools and know exactly how much debt they would be taking on.
Sen. Franken also cosponsored the Smarter Borrowing Act, which would improve the timing and quality of entrance and exit loan counseling so that students are better prepared to avoid taking on burdensome debt. He's also on the Know Before You Owe Act, which places obligations on higher education institutions to inform students of their federal student loan eligibility before they take on private student loans. Parts of that legislation were included in Sen. Franken's universal financial aid award letter bill.
Additionally, Sen. Franken is the author of the Accelerated Learning Act--which was incorporated into the Senate bill to replace the so-called "No Child Left Behind" law--that would help make college affordable by expanding access to accelerated learning models like AP, IB, dual enrollment, and early college high schools for low-income students. This would allow students to get college credit while in high school and earn their college degree more quickly.