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Pennsylvania joins 25 states in mandating personal finance education for students

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TLDR:

  • Pennsylvania will require high school students to take a personal finance course starting in the 2026-2027 school year.
  • The requirement aims to provide students with the financial literacy skills they need to make informed decisions in the real world.
  • The law did not specify what topics must be covered in the course, leaving it up to the Pennsylvania Department of Education to develop a model curriculum.

Starting in the 2026-2027 school year, Pennsylvania high schools will be required to offer a mandatory course in personal financial literacy worth at least half a credit. The law, which was proposed by State Sen. Chris Gebhard and signed into law last month, makes Pennsylvania one of 25 states that have enacted a personal finance requirement for high school students.

The requirement aims to equip students with the financial literacy skills they need to navigate their personal finances in the real world. High school students are already making financial decisions, such as saving for a car or deciding on their path after high school, and the course is intended to help them make informed choices.

The legislation did not specify what topics should be included in the financial literacy course. Instead, the Pennsylvania Department of Education will be responsible for developing a model curriculum and resources aligned with state academic standards. The state Board of Education is currently working on updating those standards to incorporate financial literacy.

Advocates of the requirement argue that without a mandate, there is significant inequity in which students have access to financial literacy education. Currently, most schools offering personal finance courses are located in more affluent areas. The new law aims to ensure that all students have access to these crucial skills.

While implementation of the requirement has yet to be determined, organizations like Philadelphia Financial Scholars are already working with schools to provide curriculum and professional development for personal finance courses. This kind of support will be essential to the successful rollout of the requirement.

Ultimately, the aim is to provide high school students with the knowledge and skills they need to make smart financial decisions and set themselves up for success in the future.

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