For Immediate Release - October 24, 2005

State's Financial Literacy Program Hits Milestone, Sets Sights On Expansion

Over 20,000 Texts Distributed, Teachers in 154 Communities Participating

The Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs today announced that its voluntary high school financial literacy initiative known as "Hi-Fi" is closing in on participation among half of the state's high schools. Just six months since its launch in May at Stoneham High School, over 20,000 personal finance workbooks have been distributed to teachers in 154 cities and towns across the Commonwealth.

Hi-Fi's innovator, Consumer Affairs Director Beth Lindstrom, characterized the overwhelming response to the program as evidence of the tremendous need for personal finance basics among high school students. "It is imperative that teens understand money and credit management at this critical point in their lives. Developing good credit, consistent savings and smart investments will be the keys that open doors as adults," said Director Lindstrom.

Hi-Fi Expansion Plans

During November and December, the Office of Consumer Affairs will host five free teacher-training sessions in Boston, Haverhill, Hyannis, Springfield and Worcester. Nearly one hundred high school teachers are already registered to receive training in The National Endowment for Financial Education ® (NEFE ® ) curriculum, which would then be taught to students in the second semester of the current school year.

On October 26 th, Director Lindstrom will address the Massachusetts Association of School Committees at the Worcester DCU Center, speaking to the merits of the Hi-Fi initiative and advocating for its implementation in high schools that don't currently teach personal finance. "Whether it's Hi-Fi or other recognized personal finance programs, they need to be accessible to students in all of our high schools," added Lindstrom.

The Office of Consumer Affairs' Hi-Fi program will be awarded a $10,000 grant from the Middlesex Savings Charitable Foundation on November 1st, funding that will provide for further teacher-training sessions as Hi-Fi expands throughout the Commonwealth's high schools.

"Our schools do a great job in reading, writing and arithmetic, but we recognize that students also need to learn this important life skill. Hi-Fi addresses this need and we are pleased to assist Director Lindstrom and the Office of Consumer Affairs in providing the tools and support necessary to further this program's mission," said Dana M. Neshe, President of Middlesex Savings Charitable Foundation.

Upcoming Teacher-Training Sessions

  • November 2, Boston, Bunker Hill Community College, 8am-3pm
  • November 9, Springfield, Springfield City Library, 9am-4pm
  • November 14, Worcester, Quinsigamond Community College, 8am-3pm
  • November 30, Haverhill, Northern Essex Community College, 8am-3pm
  • December 5, Hyannis, Cape Cod Community College, 7:30am-2:30pm

Interested teachers should RSVP online at www.mass.gov/hifi or by fax at (617) 973-8799 no later than five days prior to specified training session.

About Hi-Fi

Hi-Fi is the Commonwealth's first-ever statewide, voluntary high school financial literacy initiative aimed at equipping teens with the knowledge they need to make smart personal finance choices. Hi-Fi uses the nationally endorsed NEFE ® curriculum, a module-based course that includes student assessments for its six units addressing financial planning, budgeting, savings, investment options, credit and insurance basics. The course meets the state's mandatory curriculum frameworks and teachers earn ten professional development points towards re-accreditation for completing the training. The Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs serves as program coordinator, distributing free NEFE ® course workbooks and teacher manuals to participating high schools and providing free teacher-training sessions. Massachusetts Education Commissioner David Driscoll endorses Hi-Fi.