Tuesday, April 1, 2008

National Financial Literacy Month begins today

MADISON, Wis. (4/1/08)--April Fool's Day may start out National Financial Literacy Month but financial literacy is no joke.

The national average financial literacy skills score for 12th graders in 305 high schools nationwide was 52.4%, with only 6.9% of students receiving a "C" grade or better, according to a 2006 survey by the national Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Education.

These aren't the latest statistics. The results of the coalition's 2008 Survey of Personal Financial Literacy Among High School Students--conducted this past fall and winter--will be released at a press conference on April 9 as part of National Financial Literacy Month.

As governors and legislatures polish their proclamations and resolutions, credit unions and other organizations already are working on the front lines to improve financial literacy skills.

According to the Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) Financial Literacy Task Force, nearly 80% of credit unions with assets of $10 million or more offer financial education to adults or youth, while more than half provide financial education to both. Credit unions with $50 million or more in assets are more likely to offer financial literacy programs than they were in 2005.

Credit unions in several states are working for state laws requiring a financial literacy component in state schools. For example, the North Carolina General Assembly has required personal financial literacy be provided all public high school students beginning next fall for 10th graders' civics and economics curriculum.

In many states, credit unions are an integral part of the education programs in local schools, either providing materials for the curriculum through the National Endowment for Financial Education or training the teachers.

Elsewhere, credit unions are partnering with lawmakers to hone financial skills of students of all ages. The Michigan Credit Union League's Sixth Annual Financial Literacy Legislative Challenge partners Michigan lawmakers with credit unions and schools to co-present the curriculum (Michigan Monitor March 31).

Credit unions also will highlight financial literacy during National Credit Union Youth Week April 20-26. See "Youth Week just around the corner" in News Now's System News section.

Meanwhile, credit unions will see a number of proclamations to raise awareness. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proclaimed April as "Financial Aid and Literacy Month" last week. North Carolina Gov. Michael Easley proclaimed the month as "Financial Literacy for Youth Month."
Washington State Gov. Chris Gregoire also proclaimed the month "Financial Literacy Month."

courtesy of cuna.org

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