Majority of U.S. States Earn a ‘C’ Grade or Worse for Personal Finance Education

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Financial literacy hasn’t been a top priority in U.S. schools, according to a new study. Data from the Nation’s Report Card on Financial Literacy claims that 66% of states earned grades C or worse when it comes to personal finance education. CNBC reported that only 17 states were given grades of A or B.

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The American Public Education Foundation grades each state in the U.S., the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, in terms of K-12 financial education. These grades are based on current statewide requirements, standards and curriculum for personal finance.

“Financial literacy is really a fundamental building block for a child’s ability to make good choices and for their ability to survive and thrive,” said David Pickler, executive director of the American Public Education Foundation via CNBC. Pickler is also a certified financial planner, as well as the president and CEO of Pickler Wealth Advisors in Collierville, Tennessee.

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CNBC noted that only five states — Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Utah and Virginia — received an A for requiring personal finance education from kindergarten through grade 12 and also requiring a personal finance course for high school graduation. An additional 12 states earned a B grade, 19 received a C grade and 12 were given a grade of D. Meanwhile, Alaska, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and South Dakota failed entirely for not providing personal finance education to students.

CNBC also pointed out that research has shown that students who take financial literacy courses are more likely to display responsible financial behavior. A personal finance curriculum would largely focus on topics such as savings, credit, debt, investing and financial planning.

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Meanwhile, there’s been an extra push to guarantee personal finance education in U.S. high schools, according to a separate CNBC report. So far, 25 states have introduced legislation that would add personal finance education to the curriculum, according to Next Gen Personal Finance’s bill tracker.

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Last updated: July 16, 2021

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About the Author

Josephine Nesbit is a freelance writer specializing in real estate and personal finance. She grew up in New England but is now based out of Ohio where she attended The Ohio State University and lives with her two toddlers and fiancé. Her work has appeared in print and online publications such as Fox Business and Scotsman Guide.
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