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January 01 2009

A Giant Step Forward for HOPE's Silver Rights Movement as Congresswoman Jackson Lee, Chairwoman of the House Children's Caucus, Introduces H.R. 1325; New Bill Requires Borrowers of College Student Loans to Receive Counseling in Money Matters

Operation HOPE's Banking on Our Future College Edition Program to Help Students Understand the Fundamentals of Finance

LOS ANGELES, CA--(March 19, 2009) - Nonprofit Operation HOPE's (HOPE) "silver rights" agenda for financial literacy and empowerment took a giant leap forward as Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Chairwoman of the House Children's Caucus, introduced H.R. 1325, requiring financial literacy counseling for borrowers, on Thursday, March 5, 2009, in the U.S. House of Representatives. The legislation amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 ensuring that students, and those that act on their behalf, will receive counseling in the basics of money management, if they take out federal student loans for college.

"When I was a young girl I received a little savings passport book to keep track of my money," said Congresswoman Jackson Lee. "Every time I had a birthday or we celebrated Christmas and I received a dollar here or there, I would record it in that passport book. I treasured it and it helped me learn at an early age what it means to save and what it means to have a relationship with your money and your bank. Our young people have lost that. John Hope Bryant reminded me of the days of the little passport book. We need to teach our young people about money, make them financially literate and help them understand what it means to take out thousands of dollars that they must repay."

The legislation requires four hours of financial literacy counseling with a financial literacy curriculum modeled in part after HOPE's financial literacy program for youth and college students, and the recommendations of the United States President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy. It includes all the essential components necessary for understanding the basics of banking, budgeting, credit, loans, and mortgages. The widely supported bill will require every college student receiving a student loan, and every college or university receiving federal funds (at minimum) a 4-hour course in financial literacy in their freshman and senior year to complete.

HOPE's Founder, Chairman, and CEO, John Hope Bryant, played a key role in promoting financial literacy as federal policy, and was later appointed the vice chairman of the U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, and chairman of the Council Committee on the Under-Served, and was thereafter instrumental in facilitating HOPE's 5-year partnership with the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The program recently launched at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, and is scheduled to be available at all 105 HBCUs nationwide within the next five years.

"This legislation will go a long way towards educating the second largest group of bankruptcy filers in the country -- college students," said Bryant. "Today's economy has made a financial education a critical component to a student's academic education. If you don't know better, you can't do better."

Some 100,000 students are expected to be educated through HOPE's historic partnership with the White House through its initiative on HBCUs. It is believed the new bill will help empower students and in turn help insulate the future economy against student loan defaults. Creating a generation of empowered consumers and financially literate "silver rights" soldiers is the only way to ensure that this economic crisis does not happen to future generations.