Starting with the Fall 2023 school year, high school students in Florida will be taught financial literacy with classes that will be mandatory. Students must pass the financial literacy classes to graduate.
There are 10 other states that have already approved legislation for financial literacy courses in high school. They are: Alabama (existing), Mississippi (existing), Missouri (existing), Nebraska (to begin in 2024), North Carolina (existing), Ohio (2025), Rhode Island (2024), Tennessee (existing), Utah (existing) and Virginia (existing).
In late March, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill requiring high school students to complete a financial literacy course before receiving their high school diplomas. Under the bill titled “Dorothy L. Hukill Literacy Act,” students must take a half-credit in personal financial literacy and money management courses.
Overall, financially literacy is low in the U.S. Only 4 in 7 American adults are financially illiterate. And only one in 10 American teenagers earned a top ranking for financial literacy in testing in 2017.
Florida led most of the nation in bankruptcy filings. “You can see that Floridians, generally speaking, are not financially literate,” Catherine McEwen, who sits on the Credit Abuse Resistance Education advisory board, told the Tampa Bay Times. “We would like the folks in Florida to be educated to the extent that we don’t have a job anymore.”
“Financial literacy is an important life skill for a student to have,” said Gov. DeSantis in a statement. “Ensuring our students have the skills to manage their finances and perhaps one day own a business will pay dividends for our state. I am proud to sign this bill to support the future of Florida’s students and ultimately their families and communities.”
This move by Florida will benefit public school students, 21.9 percent of whom are Black (non-Hispanic).
The financial literacy course will cover basic skills, such as how to manage a bank account and balance a checkbook and how to complete a loan application, reported Florida A&M University’s newsletter Famuan.