(Boston, MA) – Ally Houghton, Marketing Coordinator at The Savings Bank and program manager for the 1st Educational Savings Branch of The Savings Bank, was among the speakers who testified at a Joint Committee on Education public hearing in support of H.4199, An Act relative to personal financial literacy.Filed by State Representative Ryan Hamilton (D-Methuen) the legislation is targeted at expanding financial literacy education in Massachusetts and would require all public high school students in the Commonwealth to complete a standalone financial literacy course prior to graduation.
The bill also outlines a Financial Literacy Trust Fund, which would provide funding to underserved school districts, and directs the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to create professional development training standards for educators.
“Far too many of our young people are thrust into life after high school with limited education on basic financial skills and habits,” Representative Hamilton said prior to the hearing. “This is unacceptable in a world where ever-increasing college costs lead to high student debt burden and inflated rent and living costs make finding a stable job and place to live challenging for our young people especially. Ensuring that all students in Massachusetts receive financial literacy education prior to graduation is critical to both empowering the next generation and spreading greater information on healthy money practices throughout our communities.”
In her testimony, Ally noted that The Savings Bank has always been committed to financial literacy in schools, highlighting the Bank’s establishment of the 1st Educational Savings Branch of The Savings Bank in 1981, the country’s first student banking facility.
The seed for a student banking facility was planted by then-Bank President Donald E. Garrant who envisioned a financial education program that would benefit students and the community. It was his vision that students would learn financial skills that would last a lifetime while potentially carving out career paths for those who were instrumental in operating the student bank each year. To honor Garrant and his commitment to financial education and literacy, The Savings Bank established the Donald E. Garrant Foundation in 2001. The foundation has since awarded financial grants to organizations and institutions in the communities served by the Bank, including approximately $190,000 to financial education programs in Wakefield since its inception.
Several banking professionals also testified with Ally in support of the bill.