January 17, 2008





By: Soncia Coleman, Associate Legislative Analyst


You wanted to know what type of personal finance training is being provided to Connecticut students. This report has been updated by OLR Report 2010-R-0302.


The State Department of Education (SDE) has been making efforts in recent years to increase awareness about personal finance education.  In Connecticut, as in many other states, personal finance is taught as a business elective.  SDE provides draft frameworks and curriculum templates for these courses; however, it is making an effort to encourage educators to (1) increase the number of schools offering a course and (2) integrate personal finance into required subject areas.  It is also encouraging financial education through its work with the Office of the State Treasurer and the Jumpstart Coalition, a group of national organizations that work to improve students’ knowledge about personal finance.  The Connecticut Jump Start Coalition was formed in 2005 and includes representatives from SDE and the Connecticut Department of Banking (DOB).  Through an agreement with the DOB, SDE expects to receive $2 million in funding over the next five years towards the goal of promoting financial literacy in Connecticut.


Connecticut law states that “the state Board of Education shall assist and encourage local and regional boards of education to include personal financial management as part of the program of instruction required to be offered to students” CGS §10-16b(d)(5).  According to the SDE Bureau of Curriculum and Instruction, personal finance is usually taught as part of the business or family consumer science curricula.  The SDE does provide frameworks and curriculum templates (sometimes in draft form) for these courses.  For instance, the business and finance technology education draft framework that appears on the SDE web page, http://www.state.ct.us/sde, includes as one of its program goals that each student will understand and apply economic and personal finance concepts as a result of education in Grades 5-12.  The related curriculum template describes specific competencies for the subject area.  According to 2003 survey data posted on the web page, 60 out of 104 Connecticut high schools surveyed (or 57.69%) offered a personal finance course for credit.  However, these courses were usually elective in nature and only two schools in Connecticut required such courses for graduation. SDE plans to conduct another study in 2008.


According to SDE, two districts offer a follow-up course in banking and investments for honors credit for those students interested in careers in personal finance. SDE offered funding to develop these courses through the federal Carl D.  Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act grants.  Region 7 - Northwestern High School (Winchester) received a Rural Grant in 2005-2006 and Stonington High School received an Innovation grant in 2006-2007.


SDE has also entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Connecticut Department of Banking to receive funding to promote financial literacy in Connecticut. SDE has already received almost half a million dollars and will receive additional funding that will total $2 million over the next five years.  Using this funding, SDE is working to increase the number of districts that offer personal finance courses through its Investing and Personal Finance grant.  The purpose of the grant is to develop an investing and personal finance education program to provide students with basic financial skills that will enable them to apply effective financial decision-making as they make the transition into post-secondary education. In order to be considered for this grant award, a school district must submit a plan that:


1.     includes a course that follows State Personal Finance Standards and Career and Technical Education Academic Standards;


2.     develops and shares a rigorous Investing and Personal Finance curriculum with Connecticut State Department of Education;


3.     provides students with the opportunity to acquire responsible life-long investing and personal finance decision-making skills;


4.     provides students with a work-based and or mentorship opportunity; and


5.     includes participation in professional development directly related to personal finance.


In 2007 - 2008, SDE provided Investing and Personal Finance grants to 16 schools.  The grantees are shown in Table 1.


Table 1: Personal Finance Grant Awardees 2007 - 2008



Amount Awarded

Central High School, Bridgeport


Harding High School, Bridgeport


Cromwell High School, Cromwell


Derby High School, Derby


East Hartford High School, East Hartford


East Windsor High School, East Windsor


Enfield Adult Education, Enfield


Killingly High School, Killingly


New Fairfield High School, New Fairfield


New London High School, New London


Wheeler High School, North Stonington


Vernon Adult Education, Vernon


Sheehan High School, Wallingford


Lyman Hall High School, Wallingford


Staples High School, Westport


Lewis Mills High School –Reg. #10