Personal finance education is gaining momentum in the United States

Personal finance education is gaining momentum in the United States

Nine-year-old Roberto Nieves Fernandez is studying personal finance on his laptop using the SmartPath online resource center.

SMARTPATH

Several states require students to take education courses in personal finance before graduating from high school.

Currently, there are 23 states that require a personal finance course for students, according to the 2022 State Survey, published on Thursday by the Council for Economic Education.

Since 2020, the last time the survey was published, two states – Nebraska and New Mexico – have enacted legislation to ensure that all students take a personal finance course before graduating from high school.

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“Although we are encouraged by some progress in our latest survey, all young people across the country need more and deserve better, ”said Nan Morrison, President and CEO of the Economic Education Council.

uneven progress

There has been a steady momentum in states that have added personal finance education in various ways for more than two decades. The number of states that include personal finance in their education standards has risen to 47 in 2022 from 21 in 1998.

Of course, what is offered and requested in those 47 states varies greatly, the report shows. While 27 states offer a personal finance course in high school, only 23 states require students to take one to graduate.

And of these, only nine courses are a stand-alone personal finance course – the remaining ones are integrated into another class.

“The state of financial education for US students varies significantly,” said Worku Gachou, head of North America, including impact and sustainability, at Visa, which today, along with the Economic Education Council, launched FinEd50, a coalition of private organizations. , public. and nonprofit leaders who will promote guaranteed access to these essential courses everywhere.

“Where students live should not have an impact on them, they have access to knowledge that will help them learn how to make informed financial decisions in their lives,” Gachou added.

These differences matter because, without broader guidelines, lower-income students and people of color often do not have the same access to personal finance education, Morrison said.

“If we do not pass the requirements, it will only exacerbate the gaps that already exist,” Morrison said.

Economics courses are lagging behind

The report also found that while there has been a steady push to add education and personal finance requirements to high school curricula in recent years, the guidelines for economics courses have stagnated.

Since 2011, only three states have added a requirement that students must take an economics course to graduate.

While economics sometimes overlaps with personal financial education, both are important courses of study, Morrison said. The study of economics gives students the opportunity to think and analyze a wide range of topics relevant to the world, such as the environment, housing and employment.

Personal finance courses, on the other hand, help students learn to manage their own money and make solid choices, given what is happening in the world.

“In my ideal world, every child would have at least a semester of savings and at least a semester of personal finances to give them a good set of skills,” she said.

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