In support of two Financial Literacy bills recently enacted and signed by Governor Perry (Texas H.B. 492 and S.B. 851), Citigroup's Office of Financial Education today announced plans to share Citigroup's free Financial Education Curriculum with school districts and provide Citigroup employee volunteers to conduct credit lessons in schools on "National Get Smart About Credit Day" in October. In addition, Citibank has sponsored the National Theatre for Children's "Mad About Money," a financial literacy theatrical production, in select Texas middle schools. The legislation requires the State Board of Education to adopt personal financial literacy instruction in one or more courses required for high school graduation, with school districts and open-enrollment charter schools including personal financial literacy in the economics curriculum in the 2006-2007 school year, as well as the development of a pilot program on financial literacy. Texas will now be joining the eight states that currently mandate personal finance education in schools.
"The momentum for adding financial literacy curricula in schools is clearly growing," said Dara Duguay, Director of Citigroup's Office of Financial Education. "According to the Jump$tart Coalition, only 19 percent of high school graduates nationally have taken a course covering personal finance basics. We are pleased to provide our curricula to schools, non-profit organizations and state agencies in any state that passes personal finance legislation, to help reverse this shortfall."
2005 has seen a surge in financial education legislation as a variety of federal and state sponsored bills have been introduced in 30 states. The eight states that currently make personal finance a requirement for high school graduation, include: Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, New York, Georgia, Utah, Alabama, and Louisiana. In Kansas, Mississippi and Arkansas, personal finance classes are required to be offered, however enrollment is not mandated.
"In the wake of this surge of legislation, Citigroup is optimistic that a significantly higher number of high school students will graduate in the coming years with an exposure to basic financial skills," Duguay added.
In Texas, Citigroup shares it's free Financial Education Curriculum with several strategic nonprofit partners, including the Texas Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs, and supports a unique program through the United Way that targets financial education programs within its network of agencies. Citigroup's employees also contribute their own resources to this program. In addition, Citigroup employees are trained to assist with this curriculum in a volunteer capacity in order to extend the service reach of these non-profit groups.
Recently, Citigroup and the Citigroup Foundation announced a 10-year, $200 million global financial education commitment, the formation of a new Office of Financial Education and a global initiative designed to encourage its 300,000 employees around the world to devote time to support financial education and other charitable causes. Under the new initiative, employees may take a day off from work to volunteer for non-profit organizations in their communities.
In 2004, Citigroup and the Citigroup Foundation awarded more than $2,700,000 in grants and sponsorships to charitable and non-profit organizations in communities across Texas to support financial education, general education, child development, and community development programs, among others.
The Citigroup Financial Education Program Curriculum and Facilitator's Guide are free, available in English and Spanish, and may be found at: http://financialeducation.citigroup.com.
Citigroup (NYSE: C), the leading global financial services company, has some 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 100 countries, providing consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, insurance, securities brokerage, and asset management. Major brand names under Citigroup's trademark red umbrella include Citibank, CitiFinancial, Primerica, Smith Barney, Banamex, and Travelers Life and Annuity. Additional information may be found at www.citigroup.com.
The Citigroup Financial Education Program is a global, company-wide effort to identify, support and implement initiatives that help give individuals, families and communities the tools needed to make sound financial decisions. Citigroup's 10-year, $200 million global financial education commitment is focused in three areas: Personal Financial Education, Small Business Financial Education, and Institutional Financial Education. Additional information about Citigroup's Financial Education Program, including Foundation guidelines, links and resources, including the Citigroup Financial Education Program Curriculum and Facilitator's Guide may be found at: financialeducation.citigroup.com.