Some high schools require mandatory financial literacy courses

According USA today.

In 2018, five states guaranteed self-directed personal finance classes for all high school students — a number that grew to 13 in May 2022 — and are expected to continue growing. Courses help students learn the basics of managing their money before moving on to college or their careers. They also learn how to open a bank account, establish a budget and manage their debts.

Angela Harrell, director of diversity and head of business impact at New York-based Voya Financial, said the classes come at a pivotal time in student development.

“High school is when financial decisions start to be made, from working and driving to thinking about student loans, so that’s when it’s important to give them practical knowledge and ways to think about real-world scenarios,” Harrell said.

The goal is for students to walk away with better financial behaviors, such as smarter payment decisions, better budgeting and increased investment for retirement, according to Yanely Espinal, director of outreach for Next Gen Personal Finance (NGPF). .

That’s why classes are gaining ground, Espinal said. According NGPF 2022 State of Financial Education Reportabout 23% of high school students in the United States had access to guaranteed financial education, up from 16% in 2018.

“This movement is now making headlines and attracting media attention, which has even more people wanting to get involved in the momentum,” Espinal said.

While efforts to increase financial literacy education are on the rise, some challenges remain. Lack of generational knowledge, distrust of financial institutions, and short-term thinking continue to be obstacles that many communities face. But experts say parents can fight for their students by advocating for financial literacy classes in schools and with local lawmakers.

“Ask your student’s administrator, principal, or teacher, ‘Will my child have access to a full-semester course on personal finance?'” Espinal said. She said many schools might say they have the material in the curriculum because it’s included in another course. But when integrated with another course, it is not as effective. “He needs that full semester of instructional time to go through all the important topics.”

Louis R. Hancock