More States Require Students to Learn About Money Matters

More States Require Students to Learn About Money Matters

Here are some questions and answers about high school money classes:

Does personal finance instruction help students make better decisions?

Yes, but the impact varies, depending on details like the amount of instruction time and the topics covered, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

“Well-implemented state financial education mandates lead to a clear improvement in financial behaviors,” the bureau found in an analysis published last year.

A recent study from Montana State University, for instance, found that high school students who were required to receive personal finance instruction were more likely to make smarter decisions about paying for college. Students were more likely to choose less expensive financing options, apply for aid and get grants, and less likely to carry credit card balances. It also reduced lower-income students’ need to work while in college, which could help them complete their degrees, according to the study.

Where can my school find information about recommended personal finance courses?

In addition to the Council for Economic Education, curriculum sources include the National Endowment for Financial Education, the Federal Reserve and the JumpStart Coalition.

Where can I get help with talking to my teenager about money?

One way to ease into a conversation about spending and budgeting is to use a real situation in your teenager’s life, said Billy Hensley, president and chief executive of the National Endowment for Financial Education, a nonprofit group that funds research to promote financial well-being.

It’s common, for instance, for families to pay for school activities, like sports uniforms, Mr. Hensley said. “That’s a wonderful opportunity to begin a discussion about money,” he said, whether on the drive home from school or around the dinner table.

For tips on getting started, check out federal websites like those from the Department of Health and Human Services, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

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