Pandemic woes prompt more states to teach financial literacy

Kentucky has a new requirement for financial literacy but it applies only to student-athletes in college.

“The COVID-19 pandemic, which revealed how many American adults live on the financial edge, has boosted ongoing efforts to make financial literacy lessons a school requirement,” Elaine S. Povich reports for Stateline, a news service of the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Seven states require a stand-alone financial-literacy course to graduate from high school, “and five additional states’ requirements take effect in the next year or two,” Povich reports. “About 25 mandate at least some financial training, sometimes as part of an existing course. This year, another 20 states or so have considered setting or expanding similar rules.”

Opponents of such required courses say they are well motivated but “infringe on limited time available for other high school electives and would impose costly teacher training or hiring requirements,” Povich reports

Some opponents of mandates say it should be a local decision. However, support for required courses is “remarkably bipartisan,” Povich reports, noting bills signed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Democratic Gov. Dan McKee of Rhode Island.

“About 16% of 15-year-old U.S. students surveyed in 2018 did not reach the baseline level of financial literacy proficiency, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development,” a multinational agency, Povich reports. 

Kentucky has a new requirement at universities.

Povich reports, “Bills in Kentucky and the District of Columbia appear to take into account that student-athletes now are allowed to earn money for the use of their name, image or likeness. Neither of the measures mandates that high schools teach financial literacy. But the Kentucky bill, which the governor signed, requires colleges to set up financial literacy workshops for student-athletes.”

Pandemic woes prompt more states to teach financial literacy

The Rural Blog

The Rural Blog is a publication of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues based at the University of Kentucky.