The Attorney General’s office along with the state Treasurer, Mississippi Council on Economic Education and the Mississippi State Extension service just announced a Financial literacy program.
It’s called Making Sense of your Dollars and ₵ents and will be funded by the Attorney General’s office through settlements from lawsuits with banks and credit rating agencies.
“Usually the AG’s office is in a cleanup situation, cleaning up a financial mess,” said Attorney General Jim Hood. “Which we did because of the credit rating agencies and those settlements, but part of that was that the court required us, sort of like an oil spill, to do meditation, to fix some of the problems that were caused and so we are required to set aside a small amount of the recoveries to go toward that education training. We are putting the 2.5 million total over a two-year period to go for training.”
State Treasurer Lynn Fitch, who launched a public-private partnership Treasurer’s Education About Money (TEAM) into high schools and middle schools across the state three years ago said she looks forward to implementing the new initiative.
“MCEE has been a tremendous partner in my financial education initiative, TEAM, from the very beginning,” said Treasurer Lynn Fitch. “Together, we have trained more than 1,200 teachers in just 3 years, who can not only teach financial education curriculum but also incorporate these lessons into classes of all types and for all ages. This exciting new initiative with the Attorney General will help expand on these efforts to bring this important life skill into even more classrooms across Mississippi.”
Attorney General Jim Hood said that the program will focus on educational training.
“That’s everything from prevention, which I am glad to be doing to help people prevent from losing their financial information to hackers and so forth and it goes all the way through to training students, training teachers how to teach students, even at the cooperative extension service of outreach to faith-based groups and parents and others in an effort to communicate on Financial literacy,” said AG Hood.
Dr. Becky Smith, Director of the MSU Extension Center for Economic Education and Financial Literacy said the need for financial coaching in Mississippi communities is great.
“Our portion of this project will look at financial literacy through the lens of community and economic development, where we will train community leaders to take into account the individual’s financial needs by implementing this education into services they already deliver,” said Smith.
Hood added that he has major concerns about college graduates and their student debt and that part of the education component will be educating students who are exiting college on how to better manage their finances.
“Technology is bringing such an opportunity to our kids but they have such students debt hanging over them that many of them can’t stay in Mississippi,” said Hood. “We have lost over the past six years more than any other state in the union of our best and our brightest and that’s our future.”