Keys to Success

The Four Keys to High School Financial Literacy

  1. Financial literacy topics must be taught in a course that students are required to take as a graduation requirement.
  2. Teacher training is critical. To effectively educate our students about personal finance, we need confident, well-trained educators.
  3. Funding is needed to ensure that these classes are offered to all high school students.
  4. In order to make sure that the high school classroom personal finance training is working, we need to give students standard assessments on knowledge and behaviors.

Keys to High School Financial Literacy

How Do Grade A & B States Deliver Personal Finance to High School Students?

Standalone Financial Literacy Course Missouri, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia
Personal Finance Taught (often in another course) plus Student Assessments Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana and Tennessee
Economics Course (Social Studies) Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina (also includes Civics), Ohio, South Carolina,  South Dakota, Texas and West Virginia
Mathematics Course & Student Assessments Colorado and Kansas
Consumer Education Course Illinois
Free Enterprise Course Louisiana
Financial, Economics, Business and Entrepreneurial Literacy Course New Jersey

Grade A

Virginia, Utah, Tennessee and Missouri are the only states earning an A that require a one-semester standalone course in personal finance as a graduation requirement. Tennessee also requires that students be given an assessment on personal finance. Georgia, Idaho and Louisiana offer personal finance instruction as part of another course offering and they also require student assessments on financial literacy topics.

In this category, all states have personal finance topics in their instructional guidelines, require local school districts to implement the guidelines, and require financial literacy instruction as a high school graduation requirement either as a standalone course or as part of another course offering. Some of these states also require that the course include a formal personal finance assessment test given to all students.

Grade B

Colorado and Kansas were given a B because they required personal finance topics to be embedded in high school mathematics courses and also included these topics in high school mathematics assessment exams.

Generally, states with a B grade have personal finance topics in their instructional guidelines, and require local school districts to implement them. To graduate from high school in a B state, a student must take a course that includes personal finance topics.

These states require personal finance topics and often embed them in civics, economics, family and consumer sciences, business or mathematics courses.