April 6, 2021
The Honorable Joseph M. McNamara
Chair, House Committee on Education
Rhode Island General Assembly
Dear Chairman McNamara:
On behalf of Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Rhode Island, I write to express strong support for passage of House Bill 5491 and Senate Bill 349 entitled “An Act Relating to Education – Financial Literacy” and to thank Representative Ackerman and Senator Sandra Cano for introducing this important legislation.
Since the establishment of LISC’s Rhode Island office in 1992, we have supported financial literacy education for adults through our Financial Opportunity Centers and our SNAP Employment & Training partners. Providing this same education to Rhode Island’s young people will help ensure that they make sound financial decisions as they get older.
Every Rhode Islander deserves the opportunity to achieve financial security. Currently, thirty-seven states guarantee access to personal finance education in their public-school curriculum, and it is time for Rhode Island to join them. Research shows conclusively that students who receive high quality personal finance instruction in school are more likely to proactively manage their finances as adults, resulting in lower debt, higher credit scores, greater personal income, and a better quality of life overall.
Most high schools in Rhode Island already offer courses that include personal finance, but not all students have access to these important lessons. H5491 will ensure that all students receive important instruction in personal finance in their curriculum. This is greatly needed and long overdue.
I strongly urge the Committees to pass this legislation to guarantee that Rhode Island public-school students will benefit from basic personal finance education.