How Well Do High Schools Teach Personal Finance? Champlain College Center Grades Each State

CFL National Report Card cover 2015

Burlington, Vt. (Oct. 20, 2015) -- Champlain College's Center for Financial Literacy today released its 2015 report card on each of the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia on how well their high schools teach personal finance. States received grades ranging from A to F.

The 2015 National Report Card on State Efforts to Improve Financial Literacy in High Schools follows the original 2013 report card, which generated widespread media attention, but more important, discussion among state legislatures and organizations committed to improving financial literacy in America.

John Pelletier, director of the Champlain center, notes that the 2015 report card is even more rigorous in its approach, and it shows that some states acted on the 2013 report and improved their educational efforts.
"Improvements are very gratifying, but we still have a long way to go," Pelletier says. "We know that many Americans lack personal finance knowledge and skills. We need to educate all Americans, but especially our young people. High school graduates are about to step into the world of work, military service or college, and they need to have the financial skills to navigate a complex world. It is our hope that the 2015 report card will spur even more improvement in high schools across the country."

Pelletier points to studies that show financial literacy is linked to positive outcomes like wealth accumulation, stock market participation, retirement planning, and avoiding high-cost alternative financial services like payday lending and auto title loans.

"With our high school students working hard in a new academic year, it is an appropriate time to reflect on how our high schools provide personal finance education to their students," says Pelletier. "After eight months of intensive research, we have a final report card, and while there is improvement in some states, the grading shows overall that we have a long way to go before we are a financially literate nation."
Five states earned an A grade- Alabama, Missouri, Tennessee, Utah & Virginia . But 11 states and the District of Columbia received an F: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Washington, D.C., Washington state & Wisconsin.

In addition to compiling data from various sources, Champlain's center conducted in-depth research on each state's policies regarding the teaching of high school personal finance. The center reviewed state laws, graduation requirements, educational standards and assessment policies, and clarified questions in discussions with education policy experts.

To read the complete report, see:

John PelletierCheck out John Pelletier's recent essay in Huffington Post on
The 45-Minute Financial Literacy Workout For High School Seniors

Learn more about the Center for Financial Literacy at

About the Center for Financial Literacy

Champlain College's nationally acclaimed, one-of-a-kind financial literacy program hopes to increase knowledge of money matters in classrooms across Vermont, ensure college students graduate with the skills to make sound decisions about spending, credit and investments, and help adults navigate difficult financial situations like buying a home and saving for retirement. The Center for Financial Literacy is a partnership among several financial institutions, non-profit entities and governmental agencies.

The Center is designed to promote and develop financial literacy skills in K-12 students, college students, teachers (K-12 and college) and adults. The Center will also advocate for more financial education opportunities at the local, state and national level. The Center has launched a variety of programs aimed at increasing the personal finance sophistication of our citizens.A lack of knowledge about credit, investing and financial planning is at the heart of the recent economic downturn. "The Great Recession demonstrated that our citizens struggle when making complex financial decisions that are critical to their well being. Some of our economic problems were created by bad actors, focused on personal gain, but so many others were created by good people making poorly informed personal financial decisions," notes the Center's director, John Pelletier.

John Pelletier of Stowe, director of the Center for Financial Literacy at Champlain College, is a former chief operating officer and chief legal officer at some of the largest asset management firms in the U. S..

Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a small, not-for-profit, private college in Burlington, Vermont, with additional campuses in Montreal, Canada, and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain offers a traditional undergraduate experience from its beautiful campus overlooking Lake Champlain and over 90 residential undergraduate and online undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificates. Champlain's distinctive career-driven approach to higher education embodies the notion that true learning occurs when information and experience come together to create knowledge. Champlain College is included in the Princeton Review's The Best 384 Colleges: 2019 Edition. For the fourth year in a row, Champlain was named a "Most Innovative School" in the North by U.S. News & World Report's 2019 "America's Best Colleges,” and a “Best Value School” and is ranked in the top 100 “Regional Universities of the North” and in the top 25 for “Best Undergraduate Teaching.” Champlain is also featured in the Fiske Guide to Colleges for 2019 as one of the "best and most interesting schools" in the United States, Canada and Great Britain and is a 2019 College of Distinction. For more information, visit