CNBC – 2/5/2020 (reprinted)
- High school students go on to make better financial decisions in states that require personal finance coursework.
- That includes how to pay for college, taking out loans and loan repayment, avoiding payday lenders and credit card debt.
- Five states have no personal finance standard or requirement in public school: Alaska, California, Montana, New Mexico and Wyoming, according to the 2020 biannual Survey of the States from the Council for Economic Education.
Americans choose where they live for many reasons, including access to a quality education for their children. But families may not pay close attention to one educational standard that varies from state to state and can have big implications for financial well-being and, in particular, student debt: high school personal finance content.
There’s increasing evidence that students who are required to learn financial literacy as part of a state’s education curriculum make better financial decisions across multiple, and critical, early adult-life money decisions. That includes how to pay for college — understanding available grants and financial aid, as well as government vs. private student loans — and avoiding payday lenders and credit card debt.
“Research shows that these requirements make a difference,” said Nan Morrison, the president and CEO of the Council for Economic Education, which released its biannual Survey of the States on Wednesday, a detailed state-by-state look at the economics and personal finance standards and requirements in K–12 state education systems.
“College debt is real, and kids in the last population bump are living with it now … and having kids now. … The need to be financially responsible is not going away,” Morrison said. Individuals need to be “on the ball and in control” earlier in life, she said, and the first step is financial literacy.