AUGUSTA, Maine(NEWS CENTER) -- More than 14,000 Maine high school seniors are getting ready to head out into the world - but will they have learned the lessons that will help them stay out of financial trouble?

A group of teachers and financial experts was working in Augusta on Thursday to make sure more students are ready for the real- world decisions they'll have to make.

They're promoting a special course of study called Financial Literacy.

Jump Start, a coalition of business and financial leaders organized through the state, has been working for three years to help more teachers and schools develop financial literacy programs. They say students need to understand the basics of budgeting and money management, how to handle credit cards and the multitude of other financial decisions they will have to make after graduation.

Jump Start president Mary Dyer says greater financial literacy could also help more students avoid future problems with student loans. Dyer says when students get into loan trouble, they generally have had other kinds of financial problems, or simply have not learned the need to budget and plan, and match their expectations to their income.

Jump Start leaders say a growing number of schools are becoming interested in teaching financial literacy. The the program is not mandatory in Maine, they bsay, even though financial literacy is included in the list of items in Maine's Learning Results.

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