53% of U.S. students now guaranteed to take personal finance before graduating high school 

HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 15, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — With the passage of Senate Bill 843, an omnibus education policy bill on Dec. 13, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania became the 25th state to guarantee a standalone personal finance course for high school students. Longtime advocates, including the NGPF Mission 2030 Fund, greatly applaud the efforts of many legislators, organizations, teachers and students in making this a reality for all Pennsylvania high school students.

“As a result of this legislation, more than half of high school students in the U.S. —53%— will have guaranteed access to a standalone Personal Finance course,” said Yanely Espinal, Director of Educational Outreach at Next Gen Personal Finance, a leading nonprofit dedicated to providing high-quality personal finance curriculum and professional development at no-cost to educators and school districts. “We applaud Pennsylvania policymakers for trusting in the excellent educators across the state to deliver life-changing education to all high school students.”

53% of U.S. students now guaranteed to take personal finance before graduating high school

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This historic move underscores Pennsylvania’s commitment to preparing young adults for the challenges and responsibilities of the real world. With this victory, Pennsylvania becomes the eighth state in the nation to adopt this policy in 2023, following closely on the heels of Wisconsin just last week. View the status of all states on NGPF’s Live U.S. Dashboard.

Senator Chris Gebhard (R-48) sponsored the original bill.

“An alarming number of our high school students are currently entering adulthood and the workforce without an appropriate knowledge of basic financial concepts,” Gebhard said. “I want them to have the best foundation possible as they start their own lives – far too often, the financial decisions our younger generations are making have led to unintended consequences that have put them at an economic disadvantage later in life.”

Pennsylvania’s personal finance course requirement will begin with the 2026-2027 school year and will cover topics such as budgeting, saving, credit management, investing, and understanding loans and interest rates, among other important lessons.

“Before taking this class, I didn’t know much about personal finance. I didn’t understand how credit cards worked or how I might be able to get a mortgage to buy my own home someday,” said Abdourahim Sylla, a 2023 graduate of Martin Luther King High School in Philadelphia. “But after taking this class, now I feel much more confident about my financial future.”

Research has clearly demonstrated that a personal finance course improves long-term financial decision-making and positively impacts student debt decisions and credit scores, helps graduates avoid predatory lenders, helps increase savings rates among teachers, and even generates positive spillover effects on parents.

“We applaud the passage of this legislation to guarantee that every high school student receives financial education in high school,” said Kerry Woodward, Executive Director of Philadelphia Financial Scholars. “I have personally witnessed the real world transformative impact of financial education on students across the 28 urban schools we serve. When this course is part of the school day, it equitably equips students with life-changing financial knowledge and confidence.”

Not only was this bill backed by policymakers on both sides of the aisle, but it also garnered support from parents, business groups, nonprofit organizations, and educators from across the state.

Carey Barzeski, a Business Teacher at Millcreek Township School District, said she loves teaching personal finance because it’s the class she wishes she had taken when she was in school.

Pennsylvania’s commitment to financial literacy education will not only secure a brighter financial future for our students but will also impact their families and communities,” said Ms. Barzeski. “This is a shout-out to everyone who pushed for this – it’s not just a win; it’s a game-changer for our state’s financial landscape!”

Pennsylvania school districts will be provided with resources and training to effectively implement the course, including from the Department of Education, who will collaborate with experts and educators to share high-quality course materials and model curriculum.

Next Gen Personal Finance supports more than 3,300 active teachers in Pennsylvania and will continue providing support through the implementation of this effort and beyond.

The NGPF Mission 2030 Fund, a nonprofit that advocates for this policy in all states, was a supporter of the bill and provided technical support to policymakers.

About Next Gen Personal Finance
Next Gen Personal Finance (NGPF) is a nonprofit committed to guaranteeing that all high school students receive a personal finance course prior to graduating. NGPF has become the number one source for nearly 100,000 educators looking for high-quality, engaging personal finance curriculum to equip students with the skills they need to thrive in the future. NGPF invests in teacher professional development with live Virtual Professional Development, 10 Certification Courses, and 40+ asynchronous On-Demand modules. NGPF has been recognized by Common Sense Education as a “Top Website for Teachers to Find Lesson Plans” and “Best Business and Finance Games” and also named NGPF a “Selection for Learning.” Visit ngpf.org for more.

The NGPF Mission 2030 Fund is a nonprofit advocacy affiliate of Next Gen Personal Finance and provided technical support to policy makers in Pennsylvania, as it does in all states in pursuit of its goal to guarantee all high school students in the United States will be guaranteed to take a personal finance course before graduation.

Tim Ranzetta
NGPF Mission 2030 Fund/
Next Gen Personal Finance
[email protected]

SOURCE Next Gen Personal Finance