Florida bill requires high school students take financial literacy class

A bill is headed to the governor’s desk that would make a personal finance class mandatory to graduate high school.  

"I'm not sure why we didn't do it a long time ago," said parent Jeremiah Delgado.

Jeremiah Delgado and his wife Noelle fully support the idea of their three children getting a semester of financial literacy in high school.  The Hillsborough County couple says the basic principles of money management are a great foundation for everyone to have.

"That carries them on throughout their lives, whether it be for interest rates and being able to purchase a home, get a car, that has a could have a negative detriment for the rest of your life," Noelle Delgado said.

This week, the House and Senate unanimously passed the Dorothy L Hukill Financial Literacy Act, requiring Florida high school students to take a personal finance class to graduate. The legislation is now on its way to the governor.

"A lot of people want Florida’s families to succeed. And now it's just nice to see the Florida Legislature recognized this in law to make it that important of a priority," said Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, Jimmy Patronis.

The late Hukill championed this change.  She and other lawmakers have been pushing to make this a curriculum requirement for years.

If adopted, it would start with students entering high school in the 2023-2024 school year, and make Florida the seventh state to mandate a stand-alone course in personal financial literacy to graduate.

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"Helping students at a younger age, especially in high school, is probably going to have some tremendous rewards for not just the individuals, but for society as a whole," said Dr. Bob Tiller, Outgoing Director of the Personal Financial Planning Program at USF.

The class must teach about a dozen concepts. The students would learn about the types of bank accounts offered, how to balance a checkbook, money, debit and credit card management, how to complete a loan application, receiving an inheritance, personal insurance basics, how to do your taxes, lessons on local tax assessments, interest rates, simple contracts, contesting an incorrect bill, state and federal laws, and ways to save and invest.

"An enormous number of difficulties in life just come from the fact that people don't have enough resources for the lifestyle that they want to have," Tiller said. "But if they understand they can be in control of that spending or savings, then suddenly people will make better choices."

Setting students up for success and putting them in control of their financial futures with skills they will use every day of their lives.