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NY needs personal finance class for high schoolers to thrive

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TLDR:

  • New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is urging the Board of Regents to make personal finance instruction a requirement for a high school diploma.
  • The state comptroller’s office presented a study showing that students who studied personal finance in high school had less debt, better mortgage terms, and more savings.
  • Currently, personal finance classes are not mandatory in New York high schools, although they are required in 17 other states.
  • The Board of Regents listened to representatives from the comptroller’s office but took no formal action at their meeting. The issue remains under review.
  • If implemented, it is unclear what form the requirement would take, including whether it would be a separate course and how long it would last.

The New York State Comptroller’s office has proposed making instruction in personal finance a requirement for obtaining a high school diploma. They presented a study that found high school students who studied personal finance had fewer financial issues later in life, such as less debt, better mortgage terms, and more money saved. Currently, personal finance classes are not mandatory in New York high schools, although they are required in a growing number of states. The Board of Regents, which sets education policy, listened to representatives from the comptroller’s office but did not take any formal action during their meeting. The issue remains under review.

It is unclear what form the requirement would take if adopted. This includes whether it would be a standalone course and how long it would last. Some experts argue that personal finance instruction could be covered in a one-semester class. Currently, only 23 schools in New York require a personal finance class to graduate. The comptroller’s office has emphasized the importance of providing students with financial literacy skills, stating that many young people lack these essential skills.

The Board of Regents meeting included discussion of the Westbury school district’s efforts to teach personal finance. The district partnered with a nonprofit organization to obtain free curriculum and teacher development, as well as a $10,000 grant. Several board members expressed support for adding personal finance as a graduation requirement. Long Island representative Roger Tilles stated that he believed it should be a mandatory requirement for districts to implement.

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has emphasized the significance of young people learning about personal finance. He stated that financial difficulties can have adverse effects on an individual’s physical and mental health and can also impact their family members. DiNapoli argued that education in financial literacy is an important step towards accessing better job opportunities, improving quality of life, and providing peace of mind.

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