The bill directs the state board of education (state board) to review, during a recurring interval specified in the bill, standards relating to the knowledge and skills that a student should acquire in school to ensure that the financial literacy standards for ninth through twelfth grade include an understanding of the costs associated with obtaining a postsecondary degree or credential and how to budget for and manage the payment for those costs, including managing student loan debt and accessing student aid through completion of the free application for federal student aid (FAFSA) and the Colorado application for state financial aid (CASFA); understanding credit cards and credit card debt; understanding homeownership and mortgages; and understanding retirement plans, including investments and retirement benefits.
The bill adds to the resources contained in the existing financial literacy resource bank created and maintained by the state board specific references relating to assessing the affordability of higher education and how to budget and pay for higher education, as well as how to manage student loan debt; understanding the purpose of and how to access and complete the FAFSA or CASFA; understanding credit cards and credit card debt; understanding the home buying process, including home loans and managing mortgage debt; and understanding retirement plans, including investments and retirement benefits.
Under current law, school districts are encouraged to adopt a financial literacy curriculum and to make completion of a course in financial literacy a graduation requirement. The bill adds assessing the affordability of higher education and how to budget and pay for higher education, as well as how to manage student loan debt, to the suggested financial literacy curriculum, as well as familiarizing students with the process and required forms to apply for financial aid, grants, and scholarships, including the FAFSA and CASFA.
Further, the bill requires school districts and charter schools, as part of the process of establishing the individual career and academic plan for a student in grades 9 through 12, to inform the student and the student's parents of the importance of completing the FAFSA and CASFA and to provide help in completing the forms, if requested.
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)