Pennsylvania state Rep. Mike Peifer, a member of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency's board, recently expressed support for financial literacy efforts across the state in honor of April, which is recognized as Financial Literacy Month.
"Unless you win the lottery or just happen to receive a sizable inheritance, achieving these [financial] goals will not happen without some hard work and conscious planning on your part," Peifer said. "As a certified public accountant myself, I have seen the impact of good financial decisions and the fallout from bad ones. That's why I strongly support promoting financial literacy for people of all ages."
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, only 28 percent of high school students have taken a course in personal finance or economics. Of the state's 500 school districts, only 7.6 percent require high school students to enroll in a personal finance course before graduation.
"There's no question that educating oneself is a good investment in the future, but it is important for young people to live within their means in order to pay off that debt in the future," Peifer said. "Students who lack financial knowledge are likely to carry their lack of knowledge into adulthood, and poor financial decisions with lasting ramifications are likely to be the result."
Peifer lauded several resources available to students and parents, including activities and tools from the Jump$tart Coalition and college-planning tolls from the PHEAA.
"Whether or not they've received any prior financial literacy education, it is especially important for prospective college students to get a grasp on their finances before plunging into the world of student loans," Peifer said.
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