Financial literacy class now requirement in Florida high schools

“Students will learn the importance of money management through a financial literacy course.” Photo courtesy; Tampa Bay Times

Starting in the fall of 2023, Florida high school students must pass a financial literacy class in order to graduate.

Last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill requiring high school students to complete a financial literacy course before they can graduate. The bill titled ‘Dorothy L. Hukill Literacy Act’ will require students to take a half-credit in personal financial literacy and money management course.

The course will cover basic skills, such as how to manage a bank account, balance a checkbook, and how to complete a loan application.

“Financial literacy is an important life skill for a student to have,” said DeSantis in a statement. “Ensuring our students have the skills to manage their finances and perhaps one day own a business will pay dividends for our state. I am proud to sign this bill to support the future of Florida’s students and ultimately their families and communities.”

According to a study by financial literacy nonprofit, Next Gen Personal Finance, nearly seven out of ten students in the U.S. had access to a standalone personal finance class in 2021, but only 1 in 5 were guaranteed to take this type of course in order to graduate.

Graduating high school senior Shamar Fuller says he wishes this course had taken into effect sooner.

“I hear all the time how college students are behind in debt and before I go off to college, it’s best for me to apply to as many scholarships,” said Fuller. “I’ve secured plenty of scholarships, but I feel there is still much I don’t know about managing money, and I hope seniors next year are thankful for this upcoming course because it will help many of them in the future.”

The new requirement also reduces the number of required electives for high school students from eight credits to seven and a half.

Recent FAU graduate Leslie Thompson feels a financial literacy class is far more important than certain electives.

“If this course was approved sooner, I think more current college students and recent college graduates would be in less debt than they are now, “said Thompson. “There are just too many people in the world that are drowning in student debt because they took out unnecessary loans or because they are terrible at money management. This new requirement will be reliable for all high school students instead of taking unnecessary electives.”

The new law makes Florida the 11th state in the U.S. to include financial literacy as a graduation requirement.