State Treasurer Lynn Fitch Credit: Treasurer's Office

A new financial literacy effort will be taking place in schools and communities over the next two years thanks to $2.5 million from the state’s legal settlements with three credit rating agencies and two financial institutions.

The program, called Making Sense of Your Dollars and Cents, will focus on expanding teacher training from kindergarten through high school levels, provide incentives to teachers and schools to incorporate financial education into their students’ studies, support teachers with learning experiences for their students in and out of the classroom, and finally, build a financial wellness network and implement financial coaching through community leaders.

Making Sense of Your Dollars and Cents is a partnership among Treasurer Lynn Fitch, Attorney General Jim Hood, the Mississippi Council on Economic Education (MCEE) and the Mississippi State University Extension service.

Fitch has long touted the importance of financial literacy and education. She launched the public-private partnership Treasurer’s Education About Money (TEAM) into Mississippi high schools and middle schools three years ago, which resulted in training of more than 1,200 teachers.

“MCEE has been a tremendous partner in my financial education initiative, TEAM, from the very beginning,” Fitch said. The teachers trained “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 in Mississippi.”

The Attorney General is using a special fund he has authority over to fund the program.

“Our office’s Consumer Protection Division interacts with people daily who have been taken advantage of or scammed out of their hard-earned money, and we hope this new financial literacy program will prevent those types of problems on the front end,” Hood said.

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Kate Royals is a Jackson native and returned to Mississippi Today as the lead education reporter after serving in the same capacity from 2016 to 2018. Prior to that, she was a reporter for the Clarion-Ledger covering education and state government. She won awards for her investigative work, including stories about the state’s campaign finance laws and prison system. She was a news producer at MassLive in Springfield, Mass., after graduating from Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communications with a master’s degree in communications.