California voters could be deciding a new requirement for high school graduation: personal finance education.

California Secretary of State Shirley N. Weber announced Wednesday that an initiative to require one semester of personal finance as a graduation requirement is now eligible for the upcoming Nov. 5 General Election ballot.

Weber is expected to certify the initiative and approve its placement on the ballot on June 27 unless it’s withdrawn ahead of time.

To become eligible for the ballot, the initiative needed 546,651 valid petition signatures, or 5% of the total votes cast in the November 2022 California Governor’s race.

A measure can become eligible through random sampling of the petition signatures if the number of valid signatures is greater than 110% of the required number. The initiative, Weber said, exceeded that threshold Wednesday.

If approved by voters, one semester of personal finance instruction would be added to the list of existing requirements for graduation from both public high schools and charter schools.

The requirement would begin with the 2030 graduating class and schools would need to begin offering a course by the 2026-27 school year, the measure outlines.

Currently, California requires one semester of economics for graduation, which may cover the topic but is not required to do so.

High school students can also fulfill the requirement by completing an existing personal finance course through the University of California system.

The state estimates that the new course requirement could increase cost to schools that could reach into the “high tens of millions of dollars annually” in the first years. Officials say that cost would likely decline over time.

The bulk of those new costs come from the hiring of additional teachers, developing the curriculum and instruction materials.

The organization Californians for Financial Education was behind the effort to bring the initiative to voters.

To read more about how an initiative qualifies for the ballot in California, click here.

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