States looking to tackle college indebtedness in K-12 curricula |

States looking to tackle college indebtedness in K-12 curricula

Deb Erdley

As student debt approaches $1.6 trillion nationally, presidential candidates are test-driving a raft of proposals to deal with what many consider a major problem.

Everything from tuition-free public college to debt forgiveness was on the agenda when 20 Democratic presidential contenders took the debate stage last week.

They aren’t alone in grappling with this issue.

Colleges and even some states are trying new approaches. Some colleges are requiring financial literacy counseling to ensure students understand what they’re doing when they sign on the dotted lines. Others are pitching efforts to get students through college in four years, asking they take a set number of credits per semester in return for promises to underwrite any courses they need beyond eight semesters.

Now the Education Commission of the States reports a number of legislatures are getting into the game. Nothing new is popping up in Pennsylvania, but the Commission cited bills in Nevada, Oklahoma and Virginia that address the issue.

According to the Commission’s Ed Note blog, a bill in the Nevada general assembly requires financial literacy be included in school curricula, including everything from career options, scholarship options, financial aid and how to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA. Oklahoma lawmakers likewise would require instruction on understanding the FAFSA. Virginia lawmakers want to require financial literacy classes in both middle and high school grades, including information about the cost of college and the potential debt and earnings certain studies entail.

Deb Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Deb at 724-850-1209, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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