Financial Literacy Standards

Financial Literacy Standards

HB21-1200: Add To Public School Financial Literacy Standards

Bill Sponsors

  • Sen. Bridges

  • Sen. Lundeen

  • Rep. Kipp

  • Rep. Buck


This bill will strengthen personal financial literacy standards to ensure Colorado’s students are prepared with information regarding costs associated with preparing for homeownership, obtaining a degree or credential, how to choose, manage, and repay their student loans, how to apply for federal, state and institutional financial aid, how to save for retirement, and how to manage personal credit card debt. Financial literacy is an important tool for improving personal financial responsibility and strengthened standards will benefit young Coloradans and their communities.

The need for financial literacy in Colorado

Coloradans currently owe over $27.7 billion in student loans . At the same time, Colorado’s high school students left over $50 million in student aid on the table in 2016 by not completing their FAFSA forms. Colorado’s students are struggling to manage the real financial stressors of pursuing higher education, and we regularly hear from students that they “didn’t fully understand what they were getting into” when they took on student loans.

Furthermore, 31% of adults report they have no savings . Similar studies have found that students who did not receive financial education were less likely to pay their bills on time and more likely to roll over significant credit card debt each month . A survey of 15-year-olds in the United States found that 18 percent of respondents did not learn fundamental financial skills that are often applied in everyday situations, such as building a simple budget, comparison shopping, and understanding an invoice . There’s a clear need for improved financial literacy standards that better address the realities of financial stress that young Coloradans face.

Strong financial literacy standards impact student behavior

Empowering students with the critical financial literacy knowledge they need to make better financial decisions has a dramatic impact on communities. There are abundant studies that illustrate the very real impact of financial literacy: improved rates of savings, lower levels of debt, increased rates of asset accumulation, lower levels of default, and higher credit scores. A study by the National Endowment for Financial Education found that strong financial education in high school resulted in

  • A 3.5% increase in applications for financial aid for higher education

  • A 9.5% increase in subsidized student loan borrowing at advantageous federal rates

  • A 1.4% increase in receiving a grant

  • A 21% decrease in likelihood of carrying a credit card balance

  • A $1,300 reduction in private student loan balances

The same study found that students who had received financial education in high school were less likely to “max out” credit cards, more likely to operate with a budget in mind, and more likely to pursue favorable loan terms and financing options. Once those students enter the workforce, even low-income workers who received financial education were 11.5% more likely to participate in 401(k) plans and save more for retirement than peers who received no such education.

The benefits of financial literacy are clear. Colorado should pass HB21-1200 to ensure that students are equipped with the knowledge they need to make sound financial decisions.



  • Colorado Association of REALTORS®

  • Habitat for Humanity of Colorado

  • Colorado Bankers Association

  • Economic Literacy Colorado

  • New Era Colorado

  • Independent Bankers of Colorado

  • Democrats for Education Reform – Colorado

  • Metro Mayors

  • Junior League of Denver