Oregon Credit Union-Backed Bill Requiring Financial Education Passes
News Release from GoWest Credit Union Assn.
June 22nd, 2023
Senate Bill 3 headed to Governor’s desk will help students develop a broad base of life skills and personal financial education.
Tigard, Oregon —Senate Bill 3, which adds a requirement for high school students to complete one half-credit of higher education and career path skills and one half-credit of personal financial education in order to receive a high school diploma has passed both the Oregon Senate and House. The bill is on its way to Governor Tina Kotek’s desk for signature.
The bill, backed by Oregon’s Credit Unions, received strong bipartisan support. On June 20, the bill passed the Oregon Senate by a vote of 24-1 (with 5 absent) and passed the Oregon House June 21 on a vote of 42-7 (with 1 absent). Oregon Senate President Rob Wagner and Senate Republican leader Tim Knopp introduced the innovative life skills bill.
“We are grateful to Senators Wagner and Knopp for their leadership and dedication to prioritizing this important legislation that will help set high school students up for success,” said Pamela Leavitt, senior vice president of regional grassroots and political programs/legislative affairs for Oregon with GoWest Credit Union Association. “Financial education in our schools has been a priority for Oregon credit unions for almost two decades and now we are able to deliver a tangible solution for high school students.”
“Oregon schools must prepare our students to make major financial and career decisions. This bill will help set up young Oregonians for success,” said Senate President and bill co-sponsor Rob Wagner. “Whether students choose to continue their education or start a career, the skills they learn in these classes will help prepare them for the rest of their lives.”
Co-sponsor and Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp added, “students will benefit by learning credit-building skills, budgeting to pay for what they’re buying, preparing tax returns, and preventing from becoming victims of fraud. This is a great example of how we, the Legislature, can partner to bring positive change to Oregon.”
The legislation was born out of an Oregon Department of Education study issued in September 2022, found that financial education “was the most frequently cited subject that respondents across groups said students should have.”
Oregon’s credit unions convened a process designed to offer practical solutions to be a game-changer for students as they begin to receive financial education and real-world life skills training. The options provided by the state’s credit union leaders formed the basis of the bill’s educational components.
Once implemented, students will earn ½ credit on each of two tracks – one teaching higher education and career skills and the other offering personal financial education.
The career path curriculum will help students learn to apply for jobs, prepare resumes, practice job interview skills, apply for admission to higher education or career training programs, seek scholarships or financial aid, and become self-advocates for their mental, physical, and financial wellness.
The personal education curriculum will be designed to help high school students start to build financial wellness as they embark on life as adults. Skills to be taught include building credit worthiness and credit scores, budgeting, spending wisely, making loan payments, understanding the full costs of rent and homeownership, tax preparation, and fraud prevention.
Structured as not-for-profit cooperatives, credit unions have long provided financial education to Oregonians. In 2022, credit unions in Oregon provided free financial education to 17,000 children and 25,285 adults, according to a GoWest community impact survey. Required classes in high school, the credit unions believe, will even better prepare the next generation.
“Investing in our students – our future leaders – by making financial and life skills essential learning in high schools, is our responsibility and will help students to thrive,” said Leavitt.
The requirement for high school graduates will apply to diplomas issued on or after January 1, 2027.
About GoWest Credit Union Association
GoWest Credit Union Association is the trade association representing credit unions in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming. GoWest advocates on behalf of more than 300 member credit unions, and their 16.5 million consumer members. The region’s not-for-profit cooperative credit unions take a bold, innovative, and forward-thinking approach to improving the lives of their members and enriching their communities. More information about joining a credit union can be found at: yourmoneyfurther.com Follow GoWest Credit Union Association on LinkedIn at LinkedIn.com/GoWestCreditUnionAssociation, Facebook at Facebook.com/GoWestCUA, and Twitter at Twitter.com/GoWestCUA for the latest updates on the regional Credit Union Movement.