Florida Lawmakers Unanimously Approve Personal Finance Education Bill

Nine-year-old student Roberto Nieves Fernández studies personal finance topics on his laptop using the SmartPath online resource center.

SMART ROUTE

Florida is poised to become the largest state to make a financial literacy course mandatory for high school graduation.

The Florida Senate unanimously approved SB 1054 and sent it to the state House of Representatives, which also passed it unopposed on Tuesday. The measure was sponsored by Sen. Travis Hutson and Rep. Demi Busatta Cabrera, both Republicans. It also had the bipartisan support of 35 co-sponsors.

The bill will be sent to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, for his signature.

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“It is critical that we prepare Florida’s students for financial success, and this legislation will ensure that students have vital financial literacy resources before they graduate,” Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis said in a statement. Tuesday statement. “Financial education is an important key to a strong financial future and learning the basics of credit, budgeting, saving and investing can further prepare students for a successful future.”

Personal finance classes on the rise

When the bill becomes law, Florida will become the largest state yet to require at least one semester of personal finance education, according to Next Gen Personal Finance, a nonprofit organization. The legislation will require students entering ninth grade in the 2023-2024 school year to take a half-credit course in personal finance or money management prior to graduation.

“The success of this financial education bill will have a ripple effect in other states, especially since it passed unanimously in both the Senate and the House, showing that it is truly a bipartisan issue,” said Yanely Espinal, Director Next Gen Personal Finance educational outreach. in an email. “Everyone agrees that our students need and deserve relevant financial skills for the 21st century.”

Currently, there are 54 personal finance education bills pending in 26 states, according to The Next Gen Personal Finance bill tracker. At least seven states, now possibly including Florida, require students to take a stand-alone personal finance course to graduate, which the nonprofit considers the gold standard of such an education.

More than 20 other states include some type of personal finance education in their curriculum in different ways. And others have different proposals too. For example, a proposed bill in Arizona says that a personal finance course can fulfill a math course requirement, according to Next Gen Personal Finance. Another proposed bill in Tennessee would require personal finance courses for high school students. Tennessee is one of seven states that already guarantees personal finance courses for high school students.

The activity shows that states are recognizing the importance of personal financial education for their students. While the coronavirus pandemic has upended such education across the country, it has also highlighted the importance of teaching sound financial habits.

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