When it comes to teaching financial literacy, most states aren’t exactly excelling. Only seven of the 50 states received an A grade in educating high schoolers about personal finance, as shown by a grading system created by Champlain College’s Center for Financial Literacy.
Though many experts feel that personal finance education should start earlier, data for a state-by-state comparison is only available at the high school level, according to the study.
“For our nation’s youth, learning is often being done through personal experience,” the study said. “Making mistakes with your credit is a painful way to learn a life lesson.”
Standards of Personal Finance Education
The study bases its grades (A, B, C, D and F) on its own research, financial literacy legislation, data from the JumpStart Coalition on Personal Finance Literacy and the Council for Economic Education’s 2011 Survey of the States.
Some grades may be too severe or too lenient, as noted by the study’s authors, due to potentially incomplete or inaccurate information.
Twenty states (40%) received an A or B grade. States receiving an A or B require personal finance education, either as a standalone course or as a component of another required class. States that were awarded an A-grade, however, also required an assessment of the required personal finance curriculum.
If a state does not require students to take courses that incorporate personal finance education, it received a C, D or F grade. We’ll take a closer look at these states in a forthcoming article.
Which States Aced the Test?
These states implement personal finance instruction and assessments of student financial literacy as a graduation requirement for high schools. The states meet these guidelines through various methods, and the school districts enforce the requirements.
- Georgia – Provides personal finance education in an economics course.
- Idaho – Provides personal finance education in an economics course.
- Louisiana – Provides personal finance education in economics course and free enterprise courses.
- Missouri – Financial literacy is taught as a standalone, required course.
- Tennessee – Financial literacy is taught as a standalone, required course.
- Utah – Financial literacy is taught as a standalone, required course.
- Virginia – Financial literacy is taught as a standalone, required course.