Gov. Mike DeWine, Republican of Ohio, on the campaign trail in 2018. DeWine just signed mandatory personal finance education for high schoolers into state law.
Kirk Irwin | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has signed a bill mandating all high-schoolers in the state take a half-credit, standalone personal finance course before they graduate.
With the signing of the measure on Oct. 28 by its Republican governor, Ohio is now the 10th state in the U.S. that requires personal finance education at the high school level. So far, it’s also the largest, with the legislation spanning more than 600 school districts in the Buckeye State.
“I was a banker for 41 years and I saw the results of us not teaching our children financial literacy,” said Ohio state Sen. Steve Wilson, chair of the Ohio Senate’s Financial Institutions and Technology Committee and a primary sponsor of the bill. “I wanted to do something about it.”
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Ohio’s personal finance mandate
In the last two years, five states — Ohio, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nebraska and Rhode Island — passed legislation requiring that students take a full semester standalone personal finance education course in high school, doubling the total number of states with such a mandate.
Such a course is considered the gold standard by Next Gen Personal Finance, a national financial literacy organization. Ohio’s bill will go into effect in the 2024-25 school year and cover personal finance topics from basic budgeting to opening a bank account, managing student loan debt and more.
“Without that kind of education, we’re thrusting kids into a world to learn to manage money through the school of hard knocks,” said Brian Page, senior director of partnerships and advocacy at Next Gen Personal Finance who was previously a teacher at Reading High School in Reading, Ohio.
He added that high schoolers need personal finance education now, as many are already making decisions around money that will impact their futures.
The Ohio bill also requires that teachers receive a special certification to teach a personal finance course. That will be paid for by the school district and reimbursed through a financial literacy fund, created through the legislation with money from local businesses such as banks and credit unions.
Including the financial literacy fund as a part of the bill ensures that adding these courses won’t burden educator’s budgets, …….