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Researchers : Financial Literacy: The Federal Government's Role in Empowering Americans to Make Sound Financial Choices
Complete Description:This testimony discusses (1) the state of the federal government’s approach to financial literacy, (2) observations on overall strategies for addressing financial literacy, and (3) the role GAO can play in addressing and raising awareness on this issue. This testimony is based largely on prior and ongoing work, for which GAO conducted a literature review; interviewed representatives of organizations that address financial literacy within the federal, state, private, nonprofit, and academic sectors; and reviewed materials of the Financial Literacy and Education Commission. GAO finds that financial literacy efforts are spread among more than 20 different agencies and more than 50 different programs and initiatives, raising concerns about fragmentation and potential duplication of effort. The multiagency Financial Literacy and Education Commission, which coordinates federal efforts, has acted on recommendations GAO made in 2006 related to public-private partnerships, studies of duplication and effectiveness, and the Commission’s Web site. The Commission recently released a new strategy for 2011, which laid out clear goals and objectives, but it still needs to incorporate specific provisions for performance measures, resource needs, and roles and responsibilities. The new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection will also have a role in financial literacy, further underscoring the need for coordination among federal entities. Coordination and partnership among federal, state, nonprofit, and private sectors is also essential in addressing financial literacy, and there have been some positive developments in fostering such partnerships in recent years. GAO will continue to play a role in supporting and facilitating knowledge transfer on financial literacy and will continue to evaluate the effectiveness of federal financial literacy programs, as well as identify opportunities to improve the efficient and cost-effective use of these resources
Date Published:Friday, April 1, 2011
Author:Gene L. Dodaro
Funding Agency: US General Accountability Office
Type: Testimony;
Source: Focus groups and/or interviews; Literature review;
Language: English
Audience: Researcher