Policy Recommendations

LUNCHTIME CHALLENGE

HERE IS WHAT YOU SAID

At the June 16th Vermont Financial Literacy Summit, participants were asked to spend part of their lunch hour developing policy ideas to address the lack of financial literacy in Vermont. The questionnaire that framed the conversation is attached to this list.

A. FOR THE GENERAL POPULATION, OUR PUBLIC POLICY IDEAS ARE:

  • Create a school or town website link to financial literacy information.
  • Change bank policy to focus on net income rather than gross income.
  • Develop a common definition of financial literacy statewide. This could be tied to specific outcomes for K-12, college and individuals entering workforce.
  • On-time State tax credit for proving you have taken a financial literacy course.
  • Create financial literacy dialogues between kids and their parents.
  • Require a 2-3 hour credit counseling seminar for any individual taking out a substantial loan (more than $50,000).
  • Tax deduction for approved financial literacy courses or workshops.
  • Modify drivers license written test to include specific questions that educate on personal finances (i.e. cost to maintain vehicle, cost of insurance, and cost of buying a vehicle and loan).
  • Banks/Credit Unions should offer public financial education when setting up bank accounts.
  • Public service announcements regarding consumer protection laws.
  • Use public access television for personal finance education.
  • Community access personal finance television courses.
  • Run public service announcements on personal finance topics.
  • If you receive state/federal benefits/food stamps/housing, you have to sign up for financial counseling.

B. FOR THE K-12 POPULATION, OUR PUBLIC POLICY IDEAS ARE:

  • Mandatory financial literacy education at three points: grades K-5; 6-8; and 9-12.
  • Have assessments that demonstrate and show that students have met certain financial literacy standards. Each student must demonstrate a certain financial literacy level to graduate from high school.
  • We must mandate a personal finance course before a high school diploma is awarded. Just like you can't register for courses at Champlain College if you haven't taken the financial literacy course. There must be something that can be cut from high school mandates to make room for personal finance instruction.
  • Enact laws that require schools to teach financial literacy.
  • Make personal finance training mandatory for high school graduation.
  • Require all public schools to implement a financial literacy curriculum that includes a program for each grade.
  • If a student has proof of completing and passing a financial literacy course in high school, they could have some financial incentive with a bank (i.e. earn more interest on savings or pay lower interest rates on credit or installment loan).
  • Push for a financial literacy component to National Common Core Standards that Vermont has adopted - 15%. [Note: this refers to Common Core Standards that have been adopted by many states nationally. These standards apply to English language arts and to mathematics. States are allowed to augment the standards with an additional 15% of content that the state feels is imperative.]
  • Documented evidence of proficiency in financial literacy as measured by testing at beginning and end of year - allow flexibility for teachers.
  • A personal finance three credit hour requirement for teacher licensure in the state.
  • Needs assessment of students to determine what it is they want to know.
  • Insert personal finances questions into the GED.
  • Mandatory financial education within normal curriculum.
  • Programs akin to old Savings Bond programs for savings bonds or 529 accounts - matched savings accounts. Lengthen school days to accommodate financial education.
  • "Back to School" nights for parents to learn what/how to teach/practice and model financial literacy for your family.
  • Building Financial Literacy into the curriculum of the Common Core Standards.

C. FOR THE COLLEGIATE POPULATION, OUR PUBLIC POLICY IDEAS ARE:

  • Mandatory financial literacy education prior to receiving student loans.
  • Financial literacy entrance requirement to enter college and technical institutions. Tech schools could offer personal finance courses.
  • Partial student loan forgiveness for completion of a financial literacy course.
  • Require students to participate in a minimum level of financial literacy training as part of academic studies.
  • Require a one semester course to cover financial literacy topics.
  • Cut in tuition if students take a financial literacy class; require a financial literacy course as a pre-requisite to obtaining Federal work study funds.
  • Loan forgiveness upon successful completion of a personal finance course.
  • Make interest earned on savings exempt from both State and Federal tax for college students.
  • Require entrance and exit reviews regarding personal financial literacy.
  • Have financial advisors on staff (like in career services) and require that all students meet with advisor at least once.
  • De-mystify financial aid.
  • Grants to students that complete a financial literacy course.
  • Provide incentive to people who demonstrate that they have completed a personal finance class/workshop (i.e. tax credit, reduction in licensing fee, etc.).
  • Mandatory first-year orientation class on financial literacy - particularly credit/debit card.
  • Require one year public service - paid social responsibility.
  • Personal finance education required prior to borrowing - remember parents are often the paying client, don't exclude them.
  • Require financial literacy at college - first-year seminars.
  • Require pre/post-college assessment on financial literacy (first-year vs. senior).
  • Ban banks from lending to or soliciting students while they are in college.

D. FOR THE ADULT / WORKPLACE POPULATION, OUR PUBLIC POLICY IDEAS ARE:

  • Reintroduce pensions.
  • Require that human resource departments provide personal finance education when they conduct new hire orientation, with accommodation for scale (i.e. small businesses shouldn't "suffer" as a result of requirement).
  • At hiring point when employment/insurance/benefit forms are being completed, employee gets trained on financial literacy basic concepts.
  • State mandate that all employees will be financially literate.
  • Employers should be encouraged to offer financial literacy internally. Maybe give them a cash incentive for doing so - similar to incentives given to hire new workers.
  • Require employers to provide access to personal finance advice/curriculum for their employees.
  • Provide educational materials to human resource departments, and encourage their use.
  • Corporate tax credit for employers with more than 50 employees who document employee participation in a financial literacy program: "VT Financial Literacy Tax Credit".
  • Workplaces/human resource departments should be required to take employees through an "Understanding your paycheck" orientation akin to a "Good Faith Estimate" used by HUD.
  • Institute a new car specialty license plate for financial literacy. Funds raised go to promoting financial education in Vermont.
  • Link unemployment benefits to financial literacy.
  • Incorporate financial literacy training into HR orientations. Evaluate companies (best to work for) based on financial literacy training.
  • Change HUD Housing subsidy rules to allow voluntary roommate situation if it allows more financial stability and savings.
  • Encourage financial literacy (the cost of implementation/time) as an employee benefit, and make the cost deductible to the employer (i.e. 1 hour per week of employee education = $100.00 tax deduction at the earned revenue level).