Financial Education Gains Momentum: More than Half of U.S. High Schoolers to Take Personal Finance Course

Financial Education Gains Momentum: More than Half of U.S. High Schoolers to Take Personal Finance Course

Pennsylvania Becomes 25th State to Guarantee Mandatory Personal Finance Course

High schools across the United States are recognizing the importance of equipping students with real-world financial skills. In a significant development, Pennsylvania recently became the 25th state to pass legislation guaranteeing a personal finance course for high school students. With this move, over half of U.S. high schoolers will be required to complete a personal finance course before graduation. The growing momentum for financial education in schools is evident, with eight states adopting policies in 2023 alone. This article explores the implications of this trend and the value of personal finance education for students.

The Importance of Personal Finance Education

Personal finance education equips students with essential skills and knowledge to navigate their financial lives successfully. By teaching concepts such as earning income, budgeting, credit management, investing, and risk management, these courses provide students with the tools they need to make informed financial decisions throughout their lives. With the increasing complexity of the financial landscape, the demand for financial literacy has become more pressing than ever.

Pennsylvania Joins the Ranks

Pennsylvania’s recent legislation ensures that starting in the fall of 2026, high school students in the state will be required to take a mandatory personal financial literacy course. The omnibus bill, signed into law by Governor Josh Shapiro, aims to provide students in grades 9 to 12 with the necessary skills to navigate their financial futures. With this move, Pennsylvania joins the ranks of the eight states that already guarantee personal finance education, with a further 17 states in the process of implementing similar policies.

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Momentum Grows Nationwide

The momentum for financial education in schools has gained significant traction in recent years. In 2023 alone, eight states adopted policies that mandate personal finance courses for high school students. Wisconsin, for example, recently passed a bill requiring students to complete a personal finance literacy course to graduate, starting with the class of 2028. This growing trend reflects the recognition of the importance of financial literacy in preparing students for their future financial responsibilities.

States Leading the Way

The Center for Financial Literacy at Champlain College in Vermont issues an annual “report card” that evaluates states’ efforts in promoting financial education. Seven states, including Alabama, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia, received an “A” grade in the latest report card. These states require high school graduates from the class of 2023 to have completed a personal finance course before graduation. By 2028, as new laws and policies are fully implemented, it is projected that 25 states will earn an “A” grade, indicating a significant shift towards prioritizing financial education.

Real-World Lessons for Life

High school personal finance courses offer students practical lessons that prepare them for real-world financial challenges. These courses cover a wide range of topics, including earning income, spending and savings, credit and credit scores, investing, and managing risk. By equipping students with these essential skills, schools are empowering them to make informed financial decisions and build a strong foundation for their financial futures.


The increasing emphasis on personal finance education in U.S. high schools is a positive step towards equipping students with the skills they need to navigate the complex financial landscape. With Pennsylvania becoming the 25th state to guarantee a personal finance course, more than half of U.S. high schoolers will have access to this crucial education. As states continue to prioritize financial literacy, the number of students benefiting from these courses is set to increase further. By providing students with practical, real-world financial lessons, schools are empowering the next generation to make informed decisions and secure their financial well-being.

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