Financial Focus

Financial Education Requirements Soar In America’s High Schools

35 states now require personal finance courses and 28 mandate economics for graduation

The biennial Survey of the States from The Council for Economic Education serves as an important benchmark for progress in K–12 economic and financial education, revealing both how far we’ve come as a country—and how far we still have to go. Download the complete reports here.

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Opportunities have greatly improved for young people across America to learn the essential personal finance knowledge they need to reach their full life-long economic potential. According to the Council for Economic Education’s latest biennial Survey of the States, more than two-thirds of all states are now requiring personal finance classes for high school graduation — up dramatically from 2022 when fewer than half the states had such mandates. Of these, 15 states require a semester-long course on personal finance – our gold standard.

The 2024 Survey found that 35 states now require students to take a course in personal finance to graduate, up by 12 since 2022. The new regulations in those dozen states will lead to over 10 million additional K–12 students – 21 percent of current students – gaining guaranteed access to this knowledge, the Survey notes.

“It’s been a banner two years for young people’s financial knowledge and futures,” said Nan J. Morrison, CEE president and chief executive officer. “Requiring all high schools to teach principles of personal finance and economics and all students to study it creates equity and possibility. Putting life-essential financial knowledge into the hands of more and more kids is cause for celebration.”

“We congratulate our state affiliates, legislators, governors, educators and all who joined us in bringing this to fruition,” Morrison said.

Personal Finance & Economics

States who added personal finance requirements since the previous Survey include Connecticut, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, Oregon, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Wisconsin in 2023 and Florida, Michigan and South Carolina in 2022.

In the equally important field of economics, three more states – 28 – now require some study for high school graduation, the Survey found, with some states implementing it through redesigned social studies, civics or government courses rather than an all-new class.

As former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin says in the 2024 Survey report, “Teaching our students the basics of economics and personal finance helps them make more thoughtful choices. The more individuals who make better choices, the greater the probability that we will have a resilient economy and a more effective political system.”

It is encouraging to see the gap in financial education offerings to students shrinking. However, there’s still more work to be done to ensure that every young person in America has equal access to a financial education course regardless of where they live, go to school or their social and economic backgrounds...

States that require neither personal finance nor economics for high school graduation include Colorado, Massachusetts, and Washington.

“It is encouraging to see the gap in financial education offerings to students shrinking. However, there’s still more work to be done to ensure that every young person in America has equal access to a financial education course regardless of where they live, go to school or their social and economic backgrounds,” said Worku Gachou, Head of North America, Inclusive Impact & Sustainability at Visa, which supports CEE’s Survey of the States. Visa and CEE are founding members of FinEd50, a coalition of nonprofit organizations, researchers, corporate partners and professional organizations who are dedicated to improving access to financial education for all young people.

Since 1998, CEE has collected and analyzed data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, making the biennial Survey of the States an important benchmark for tracking progress on economic and personal financial education.

Now in its 75th year, CEE also offers free educator training and classroom materials for personal finance and economics education.

“Requiring classes in personal finance and economics are significant first steps, but the requirements are only as good as their implementation– and we’re here to help with that, too,” Morrison said.

The full 2024 Survey report with detailed tables and methodology is available at SurveyOfTheStates.com; join the conversation at #SURVEYOFTHESTATES.

 

 

 

About CEE
The Council for Economic Education’s (CEE’s) mission is to equip K–12 students with the tools and knowledge of personal finance and economics so that they can make better decisions for themselves, their families, and their communities, and learn to successfully navigate in our ever-changing economy. We carry out our mission in three ways. We advocate to require financial and economic education in every state. We provide training, tools and resources — online and live through over 180 affiliates nationwide — to more than 40,000 teachers annually, who in turn bring the highest quality economics and personal finance instruction to over 4 million students. We deepen knowledge and introduce high school students to critical career capabilities through our national competitions and Invest in Girls program. Learn more at CouncilForEconEd.org and on LinkedIn and on Facebook.