AUSTIN (KXAN) — A new study found nine of 10 Americans believe states should require students to take a semester or year-long course in personal finance before they graduate from high school.
Fifteen states already have such a requirement, according to the group that conducted the study, the National Endowment for Financial Education.
“Sadly, Texas is not one of the states that requires financial education course[s] to graduate,” said Dr. Billy Hensley with the nonprofit foundation.
Inflation, loan debt and credit card debt are just some of the reasons Dr. Hensley said now is the best time for every state to require personal finance lessons in school.
“We funded a research study that shows when you take a course in high school, a thoughtfully designed effective course, then you graduate with lower debt from college. You make better borrowing decisions. You’re taking more subsidized loans versus private loans. You graduate from college with lower credit card debt. Your credit score is higher. These are very hard numbers. It’s something that is a no-brainer,” Hensley said.
The study also found 80% of Americans wish that they had taken the course, Hensley said.
When asked if another mandate would overwhelm Texas teachers, Hensley said teachers need the resources.
“I think teachers would not feel overburdened by this if we resource them appropriately,” Hensley said.
The group said teachers would be educated with organizations, resources, professional development and a turnkey curriculum to teach personal finance in the classroom.
“If they understand the true benefits of this, everything from higher credit scores for those who take courses, lower revolving debt, better decisions with borrowing when you go to college. When we make those things clear, we tie them all together, then teachers become the ally and want to cover this because they see the essential components of this,” Hensley said.
The nonprofit urges parents to talk to school leaders and legislators if they would like to see the requirement added to schools.