One of the most overlooked areas when it comes to American education is finance. While the sciences and the humanities have long been required portions of the curriculum, most Americans never receive any formal training in financial literacy topics like budgeting, investments and the cost of borrowing. Learning these topics at a young age could help students develop a solid foundation to help them navigate their way through the financial world in the future.
Fortunately, the financial literacy movement is gaining momentum, with many states proposing and/or passing legislation to make this type of education a mandatory requirement for high school graduation. Here's a look at the status of legislation regarding financial literacy requirements in 25 states.
Last updated: July 23, 2021
Arkansas is a bit ahead of the game when it comes to adding personal finance education to high school curriculums, as it is one of only a few states as of July 21 that has successfully passed a bill and signed it into law. Senate Bill 599, "An Act To Establish the Arkansas Financial Education Commission," has been signed into law as Act 1025. The Commission established by the act will manage and implement financial literacy educational plans and programs.
Hawaii has a number of pieces of legislation addressing financial education in schools. Senate Concurrent Resolution 152 urges the Department of Education and the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to require at least a half credit in financial literacy in order for students to graduate. The resolution was adopted in its final form on April 20.
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Nebraska's LB452, which aims to introduce fundamental financial literacy education during early and secondary education, passed the legislative body on May 20 and was signed by the governor six days later. The bill calls for an embedded requirement for grades K-8 and a half-credit requirement for grades 9-12.
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The Colorado General Assembly passed HB21-1200 on June 1. The bill aims to ensure that students in grades 9-12 acquire financial literacy skills with real-world applications, including understanding the costs of postsecondary education, managing student loan debt and understanding credit card debt, mortgage and homeownership costs, as well as retirement plans and investments.
Nevada's Assembly Bill 19 revises the requirements and classifications of various subjects that are required in the state's schools. One of the most notable changes is that financial literacy is now one of the subjects that is incorporated into the state's curriculum. The bill was approved by the governor on May 28.
On June 1, the Rhode Island governor signed into law HB5491, "An Act Relating to Education -- Financial Literacy." In consultation with the Rhode Island Department of Education, HB5491 requires the council on elementary and secondary education to develop and approve statewide academic standards for the instruction of consumer education in public high schools no later than Dec. 31.
Texas joined the financial literacy bandwagon on June 8, when its governor signed into law Senate Bill 1063. This legislation deals with implementing courses in economics and personal financial literacy for high school students in public schools. According to the text of the bill, "The course...includes instruction in personal financial literacy and career skills sufficient to meet the requirements for one-half credit."
California legislators are pushing forward two financial literacy bills, AB639 and AB423, but both are still stuck in the Assembly Ed Committee as of July 21. AB639 proposes to incorporate a financial literacy program into an economics course commencing with the 2022-23 school year. AB423 would require the State Department of Education to implement a financial literacy pilot program beginning in the 2022-23 school year.
Massachusetts has three pieces of financial literacy legislation in the works, but thus far none of the bills have gained much traction. SD1321 aims to develop personal financial literacy standards and objectives from grades pre-K to 12. H42, sponsored by the state's treasurer, proposes to set up a separate fund known as the Financial Literacy Trust Fund. SD1948 would require that financial literacy be a required subject in all public schools.
Maine has had mixed success when it comes to passing financial literacy education, but it does have one recently passed bill on the books. LD68, signed by the governor on June 14, supports life and career readiness education in the state. LD701, which proposed to add instruction in financial literacy and social-emotional competence to the minimum requirements for a high school diploma, was voted out of committee with the designator "Ought Not To Pass."
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Michigan has two pieces of legislation that are slowly working their way through the process. HB5190 has a number of provisions but includes the requirement of a half-credit course in personal finance in order for students to graduate. HB4590 adds financial literacy as an acceptable course to help satisfy the state's requirement for at least four credits in mathematics.
Minnesota's financial literacy bill HF1617 is officially dead in the water. The legislation as written proposed a requirement for the completion of an online personal finance course for credit during students' senior year of high school. No other current financial literacy legislation is pending in the Minnesota state legislature.
New Hampshire is pushing ahead with a bill that adds personal financial literacy to the list of criteria for what defines an “adequate education.” HB242 has not yet completed the legislative process but it was adopted in conference committee on June 24.
In New Jersey, Assembly Member Erik Peterson drafted AR62 to urge the State Board of Education to incorporate financial literacy instruction into its social studies and mathematics curriculum. However, there has been no movement on this bill since Jan. 14.
Just like its neighbor New Jersey, New York is another state that has open legislation regarding financial literacy that hasn't progressed much. Bill A06234, sponsored by Assembly Member Josh Jensen, would require all public and private schools to provide financial literacy education to pupils in grade 11, according to the text of the bill. There has been no legislative progress on this bill since March 12.
Ohio's financial literacy education bill SB1 looks like it's on its way to becoming law, although potential passage has been pushed back to September. SB1 has wide-ranging objectives, including the creation of a financial literacy fund, the requirement for a one-half unit of instruction in financial literacy and the establishment of a Validation to teach personal finance. The bill is currently assigned for hearings in the House Committee on Education.
Pennsylvania's HB242 calls for personal finance education as a requirement for graduation. The bill also establishes the Personal Finance Education Fund and makes it an appropriation. However, the bill is still a long way from becoming law, as it has been stuck in the legislative phase since Jan. 25.
The House Committee on Education sponsored a bill in Kansas that would allow a financial literacy course to count as a one-half credit toward the state's mathematics requirement. However, HB2301 was vetoed by the state's governor on May 4, and there aren't enough votes to override that veto.
Sponsored by Sen. Kevin Witkos, SB1033 would have required at least one credit in financial literacy toward the state's high school graduation requirements. However, the bill died in the Senate Appropriation Committee. There aren't any other financial literacy bills currently up for legislative discussion in Connecticut.
Georgia bill HB861 proposed to update the state's core curriculum to include a mandatory course in financial literacy for students in grades 10 and 11. However, HB861 died in the most recent Georgia legislative session, as it adjourned without approving the bill.
Illinois legislators have proposed three different financial literacy education bills, but only one is currently under consideration. Bills HB157 and SB1830 both died in the legislative process, and only SB1556 is still being debated. However, SB1556 doesn't propose any actual financial literacy education requirements. Rather, the bill would create a volunteer Financial Literacy Task Force that would submit a report of recommendations to the General Assembly and governor on or before Dec. 31, 2022.
Maryland's financial literacy legislation HB0916, sponsored by Delegate Amprey, is dead in the water. The Maryland legislature adjourned its latest session without approving the bill, which had a broad focus. HB0916 would have updated state financial literacy standards to include content related to student loans and taxes and required the State Board to develop curriculum content for middle and high school courses in financial literacy. The bill also called for students to complete a financial literacy course in order to graduate from a public middle or high school.
Representatives in New Mexico proposed a bill to add at least one half-credit in personal finance as a graduation requirement, covering topics such as budgeting, checking and savings accounts, credit and the costs of borrowing. However, the New Mexico legislature adjourned without making any progress on the bill, killing it.
Oregon bill HB3232 would have established financial literacy as a requirement to earn a high school diploma. The Oregon legislature killed the bill by adjourning without bringing it to a vote. There aren't any other financial literacy education bills currently before the Oregon legislature.
South Carolina is another state that had a financial literacy bill die in committee. SB16 proposed that each public high school student in the state be required to complete a one-half credit course in basic personal finance as a requirement for graduation. This course would replace the existing economics coursework requirements. Although the bill did pass in the State Senate, it died in the House Education Committee.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 25 States That Are Trying To Add Personal Finance Education to High School Curriculums