TYLER, Texas — With the national student debt being more than 1.4 trillion dollars, many finance experts are pushing schools to offer financial literacy courses.
Kilgore College hosted a seminar Tuesday morning, to educate their students on how to make smart decisions when it comes to money.
“A lot of it is you don’t know what you don’t know, and if you don’t have anyone there to kind of talk about finances, to learn great money skills, to understand the importance of what’s debt and how important savings is,” certified financial educational instructor, Sharita Humphrey, said.
Humphrey is a strong advocate of financial literacy classes being taught in schools and even to young kids at home.
“We have a three year old and we’re teaching him money management skills,” Humphrey said. “As soon as they can understand what they want and what they need, it should start very early so that way it becomes something that is deeply embedded in them.”
UT Tyler's director of the Center for Economic Education and Financial Literacy, Susan Doty, also agrees with the proposal.
“We have to develop a saving culture and that can start very early,” Doty said.
The student loan debt numbers have surpassed credit cards, car loans, and even mortgage debt.
“You can look at the big numbers, the national numbers, and say there’s 1.5 trillion dollars in student loan debt, 14 trillion dollars in overall debt, but it’s individual,” Doty said. “So it’s more important when we look at what’s happening to an individual college graduate who is holding 36 thousand dollars in debt. That’s serious.”
Right now there are five states in the U.S. that require high school students to pass a financial literacy course before graduating, However, Texas is not one of them.