Nine-year-old student Roberto Nieves Fernandez studies personal finance topics on his laptop using the SmartPath online resource center.
Florida is set to become the largest state to make a financial literacy course mandatory for high school graduation.
The Florida Senate on Friday passed unanimously SB 1054 and sent it to the state House of Representatives, which also passed it unopposed on Tuesday. The measure was sponsored by Senator Travis Hutson and Representative Demi Busatta Cabrera, both Republicans. It also enjoyed bipartisan support from 35 co-sponsors.
The bill will be sent to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, for his signature.
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“It’s critical that we prepare Florida students for financial success, and this legislation will ensure that vital financial literacy resources are available to students before they graduate,” said Jimmy Patronis, chief financial officer of the Florida, in a Tuesday statement. “Financial literacy is an important key to a strong financial future, and learning the basics of credit, budgeting, saving, and investing can better prepare students for a successful future.”
Personal finance courses are on the rise
When the bill is signed into law, Florida will become the largest state yet to mandate at least one semester of personal finance education, according to the nonprofit Next Gen Personal Finance. The legislation will require students entering ninth grade in the 2023-2024 school year to take a half-credit course in personal finance or money management before graduating.
“The success of this financial education bill will have a ripple effect on other states, especially because it passed unanimously in the Senate and House, which shows that this is really a bipartisan issue,” said Yanely Espinal, Director of Education Outreach at Next Gen Personal Finance. in an email. “Everyone agrees that our students need and deserve 21st century financial skills.”
Currently, there are 54 personal finance bills pending in 26 states, according to Next Gen Personal Finance Invoice Tracking. At least seven states, including possibly now Florida, require students to take a stand-alone course in personal finance to graduate, which the nonprofit considers the gold standard of such education.
More than 20 other states include some kind of personal finance education in their curriculum in different ways. And others also have different proposals. For example, a proposed bill in Arizona states that a personal finance course can meet a math course requirement, according to Next Gen Personal Finance. Another bill proposed in Tennessee would make personal finance courses mandatory for college students. Tennessee is one of seven states that already guarantees personal finance courses for high school students.
The activity shows that states recognize the importance of personal financial education for their students. As the coronavirus pandemic has upended that education across the country, it has also underscored the importance of teaching strong financial habits.
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