Two-Thirds of States Earn a ‘C’ or Worse for Financial Education

July 16, 2021

When it comes to teaching students the basics of personal finance, most states fail to make the grade. According to the Nation’s Report Card on Financial Literacy, a study released by the American Public Education Foundation, 66% of states and territories in the U.S. earned grades of C or worse.

The study created its scores based on factors like graduation requirements, curriculum, and standards. Only five states (Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Utah, and Virginia) earned an A grade. These states mandate personal finance education throughout the entire academic life of students from kindergarten all the way through 12th grade and require students to complete a stand-alone personal finance course before high school graduation.

The report assigned an F to four locations (Alaska, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and South Dakota) for failing to mandate any financial literacy education at all.

The Foundation notes that the ultimate responsibility for financial literacy education lies with parents, but research has shown that including personal finance coursework in the education system leads to more responsible financial behavior. For example, a study from the National Endowment for Financial Education found that consumers who had taken formal financial education courses are 21% less likely to carry a credit card balance.

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