States are devoting more resources to personal finance education

Diving Brief:

  • Florida is the latest – and largest – state to require students to take a financial literacy course before graduating, CNBC Reports. The requirement will begin with students starting Grade 9 in the 2023-24 school year.

  • Many other states emphasize the need for personal finance in their curricula by allowing students to replace a financial literacy course with a math course. To date, 54 financial literacy bills have been introduced in 26 states, according to Next Generation Personal Finance.

  • High school is usually the grade level at which these courses are taught, but some states, like Tennessee, are considering adding them to middle school and even younger students.

Overview of the dive:

States like Florida are put more resources into personal finance programs for students, as well as schools and districts. It is increasingly recognized that students need this type of education to manage the financial responsibilities they will face as adults, whether it’s applying for student loans or keeping a checkbook.

Financial literacy programs can also help reduce the persistence of racial wealth gapaccording to an editorial by Demi Ross, vice president of admissions operations and finance at Teach For America, and Charles Walker, board member of 100 Black Men of America, a leading African-American-led mentoring organization . Teaching students to manage their finances and find resources to invest financially in their future can increase equity for all students.

Schools looking for ways to strengthen their financial literacy programs can also turn to external organizations. State councils, such as the Florida Council on Economic Education, have provided professional development for educators who can then bring this training into the classroom. Nationally, Next Generation Personal Finance works for free with schools across the country. Companies like loyalty and TD Ameritrade also offer resources.

For schools and educators with previous training, an update that includes popular digital financial tools like Venmo and PayPal can also be helpful. In an increasingly cashless world, the same lessons apply, whether it’s knowing how to apply for credit or understanding compound interest. But learning to weave these topics with 21st century skills and platforms can help engage students better.