Major Says Financial Literacy Skills Needed to be Successful in Life
- Financial literacy influences all stages of our lives, which is why state Rep. Sandra Major (R-Susquehanna/Wayne/Wyoming) joined her colleagues in the House of Representatives in designating April as Financial Literacy Month in Pennsylvania.
“Financial literacy involves making informed decisions about finances including investing, saving – especially for college and borrowing smartly to pay for it – understanding how credit cards work, insurance needs, real estate and retirement planning,” said Major, member of the board of directors of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA). “Students are often at risk of making poor financial choices due to their lack of life experience and a limited institutional effort to teach financial literacy skills the same way we teach reading and math. Students who lack financial knowledge are likely to carry this into adulthood – and poor financial decisions with lasting ramifications are likely to be the result.”
According to recent reports, a college student in a four-year degree program in Pennsylvania who borrows money to pay for school is graduating with an average student loan debt of $31,675 - which is the third highest in the nation. Excessive student loan debt can force graduates to delay major life decisions, such as purchasing a home, getting married or having a child.
Fortunately, Major said free resources are available to help bridge the information gap related to higher education financial issues.
“PHEAA has developed a free tool to assist students and their parents early in the college-planning process, helping them make smart choices at each of the decision points as they develop their higher education plan,” said Major.
provides estimators that help determine a student’s possible costs at different schools, future salary expectations in the selected field of study, availability of related employment opportunities, and the potential ability to repay student loans comfortably while affording an independent lifestyle.
MySmartBorrowing assists users in answering many of the most important questions that can help them avoid unaffordable student loan debt down the road. The first steps in planning for higher education are often the most crucial.
“Avoiding unnecessary loan debt is the goal,” said Major. “This month – Financial Literacy Month – is the perfect time to focus our attention on that goal so our students and families can enjoy the benefits of financial stability every month of the year.”
Representative Sandra Major
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Tricia Lehman