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Financial Literacy Education Becomes Mandatory in More States, Empowering Students with Personal Finance Skills

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Financial Literacy Education Becomes Mandatory in More States

Financial education is gaining traction in high schools across the United States. According to the latest report from the Center for Financial Literacy at Champlain College, seven states - Alabama, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia - have received the top grade of "A" for requiring high school graduates in the class of 2023 to complete a personal finance course before graduation. The report projects that by 2028, a total of 23 states will earn an "A" grade as new laws and policy changes are fully implemented.

Importance of Personal Finance Education

The increasing number of states mandating financial literacy courses reflects the recognition of the lifelong impact of financial knowledge. John Pelletier, director of Champlain College's Center for Financial Literacy, emphasizes that financial decisions are a part of daily life, making it crucial for students to learn how to manage money effectively. The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the financial vulnerability of many Americans, contributing to the push for comprehensive financial education.

Addressing Inequities and Improving Financial Behaviors

Experts argue that leaving financial education to local control can perpetuate inequalities, with districts that are predominantly white and affluent being more likely to offer such courses. However, studies demonstrate that personal finance education can significantly improve financial behaviors among young adults. It has been linked to better credit scores, reduced loan delinquency rates, decreased reliance on payday lending, and improved decision-making regarding college loans.

Challenges and Advocacy for Financial Education

While progress is being made, some states, including California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, South Dakota, and Washington, D.C., received failing grades in the report due to their lack of requirements for personal finance education in high schools. However, advocates in these states are actively working to change laws and ensure that all students have access to financial education. Organizations like Next Gen Personal Finance are collecting signatures and demonstrating the strong demand for impactful personal finance courses among students, parents, and the general public.

Expanding the Momentum

The momentum for guaranteeing personal finance education is not limited to a few states. Wisconsin is on track to become the 24th state to earn an "A" grade. The governor is expected to take action on a bill that would require a personal financial literacy course for high school graduation. This growing focus on financial education aims to equip students with the necessary skills to navigate their financial futures successfully. Tune in to the "Cities of Success" special featuring Nashville on December 6 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CNBC.

Financial Literacy Education: A Game-Changer for New Businesses?

The increasing emphasis on financial literacy education in high schools could have far-reaching implications for new business formation. As more states mandate personal finance courses, a generation of financially literate consumers and potential entrepreneurs is being cultivated. This could lead to a more robust and resilient business landscape in the future.

Creating Financially Savvy Consumers

The push for financial education is equipping students with essential money management skills. This could result in a generation of consumers who are more discerning, financially responsible, and less vulnerable to economic downturns. For new businesses, this could mean a customer base that values financial transparency and ethical business practices.

Empowering Future Entrepreneurs

Financial literacy is not just about creating informed consumers; it's about empowering future entrepreneurs. Understanding personal finance is a critical first step towards understanding business finance. As more students receive this education, we could see a surge in young, financially savvy entrepreneurs who are better equipped to navigate the complexities of starting and running a business.

Addressing Inequality in Business

The move to mandate financial education at the state level, rather than leaving it to local control, could also help address inequality in business formation. By ensuring all students, regardless of their socio-economic background, receive financial education, we could see a more diverse range of individuals starting businesses in the future.

Implications for Business Education

The momentum for financial literacy education could also influence business education. If high school students are arriving at college with a solid understanding of personal finance, business schools may need to reassess their curriculum to build on this foundation. This could lead to more advanced and specialized business education, further benefiting new business formation. In essence, the rise of financial literacy education could be a significant game-changer for new businesses, fostering a generation of financially literate consumers and entrepreneurs.
Story First Published at: https://www.cnbc.com/2023/12/05/more-states-require-students-to-take-personal-finance-course.html
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