Adding Up

More states are considering financial literacy education programs

Despite the all-encompassing tragedy of the pandemic, several small, bright spots have emerged among the clouds. One positive? An increased desire from state legislators to add financial literacy courses to their schools’ curricula.

As The New York Times reports, early last year, 21 states required high school students to pass a financial literacy course in order to graduate. That was an increase of four states compared to 2019. Now, in the wake of the coronavirus, 24 additional states are currently considering bills that would add financial literacy education programs. The uptick is mostly due to the pandemic, as it has increased worries about student loan debt and highlighted economic inequality.

The financial literacy bills being considered vary from state to state, and no one knows for sure how many will end up passing. In Ohio, legislators are mulling a bill that would require high school students to pass a personal finance class — taught by a teacher with training on the subject — to graduate. In other states, the bill simply encourages schools to add financial literacy courses.

The fact that so many states are considering an emphasis on financial education is a good sign. Studies have shown that state-mandated financial literacy courses make a positive difference in students’ lives. Curious about if your kids’ school teaches financial literacy? You can check using this tool.

Chris O'Shea

Chris O'Shea