By the time students graduate from high school, we hope that they’ve had the opportunity to learn all the basic skills they’ll need to succeed in adulthood. During the course of our K-12 education we learn everything from how to drive a car, to how to think critically about different political ideologies. Wouldn’t it make sense to learn how to apply for a loan as well?
According to a study conducted by the Council for Economic Education, millions of high school students are graduating without taking any courses in economics. The study found that just 20 states require high school students to take at least one course in economics. This number has actually fallen since 2014, when 22 states had mandatory high school economic education. The study also found that just 17 states require high school students to take a class in personal finance.
In light of the tumultuous economic landscape that young millennials have been faced with in recent years, it seems indefensible that more states haven’t provided students with the chance to become financially literate prior to departing high school. Another study conducted by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in 2015 found that high school students in states with mandatory economics courses had, on average, higher credit scores and lower debt delinquency rates than their counterparts in other states.
By teaching students about personal finance and economics during this critical period of social and cognitive development, school systems can help to facilitate the growth of a more stable, competent, well-rounded workforce. Fortunately, in some places, local community members are taking matters into their own hands and providing students with extra-curricular opportunities to learn more about fundamental economic principles.