Financial Literacy Education on the Rise: More U.S. High Schoolers Required to Take Personal Finance Courses

Financial Literacy Education on the Rise: More U.S. High Schoolers Required to Take Personal Finance Courses

Pennsylvania Becomes 25th State to Guarantee Personal Finance Education for High School Students

In a bid to equip students with essential life skills, more high schools across the United States are incorporating personal finance courses into their curriculum. This week, Pennsylvania joined the growing list of states making personal finance education a requirement for high school students. With this development, over half of U.S. high schoolers will soon have access to standalone personal finance courses. The increasing momentum for financial education in schools reflects a recognition of the importance of teaching students about real-world financial concepts.

Pennsylvania’s New Law:

Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro recently signed an omnibus bill that includes a provision for a mandatory personal financial literacy course for high school students. Starting in the fall of 2026, students in the 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th grades will be required to take this course. With this legislation, Pennsylvania becomes the 25th state to guarantee personal finance education for high schoolers.

National Progress:

According to Yanely Espinal, Director of Educational Outreach at Next Gen Personal Finance, a non-profit organization advocating for financial education, more than half of U.S. high school students—53%—will now have guaranteed access to a standalone personal finance course. Currently, eight states already ensure that students take such a course, and 17 states are in the process of implementing similar policies.

Recent Developments:

The push for financial education in schools has gained significant momentum this year. Eight states have adopted policies in 2023 that guarantee students will take a personal finance course before graduation. Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers recently signed a bill requiring high school students to complete a personal finance literacy course starting with the class of 2028. Evers stressed the importance of equipping students with the necessary tools and skills to make informed financial decisions.

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Progress Report:

The Center for Financial Literacy at Champlain College in Vermont recently released its “report card” on financial literacy education. Seven states—Alabama, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia—earned an “A” grade as they already require high school graduates in the class of 2023 to have completed a personal finance course. According to Pelletier of the Center for Financial Literacy, by 2028, when new laws and policy changes are fully implemented, 25 states are projected to earn an “A” grade.

The Value of Personal Finance Education:

High school personal finance courses cover various real-world financial topics, including earning income, spending and saving, credit and credit scores, investing, and managing risk. By providing students with these essential skills, schools aim to equip them for financial success in adulthood.


As the importance of financial literacy becomes increasingly recognized, more states are taking steps to ensure that high school students receive comprehensive personal finance education. The recent legislation in Pennsylvania and other states signifies a positive shift towards equipping students with the necessary tools to navigate the complex world of personal finance. With over half of U.S. high schoolers soon required to take personal finance courses, the future looks promising for a generation that is better prepared to make informed financial decisions.