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Rhode Island to require students to take financial literacy classes

Cash money
Posted at 9:53 AM, Jun 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-18 11:56:47-04

The state of Rhode Island will soon require all students at public high schools to pass financial literacy classes for graduation.

Earlier this month, Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee, a Democrat, signed a bill into law that will set statewide standards for classes that will teach students about financial literacy.

According to a press release from the governor's office, the goal of the law is to educate Rhode Island students on personal finance topics ranging from budgeting, saving, employment and income and money management.

"Financial literacy is key to a young person's future success," McKee said in a statement. "...(this legislation will) help us ensure that every Rhode Island high school student is equipped with tools to prepare them for economic opportunity after graduation."

The bill, which was signed into law on June 9, at a ceremony at a Pawtucket high school, instructs the state Council on Elementary and Secondary Education to work with the Rhode Island Department to set statewide standards for students.

The law orders standards to be set by the end of 2021 and orders that the classes be offered in public schools by the start of the 2022-2023 school year.

"How can we expect our children to become financially successful adults if we do not teach them the core aspects of our financial system when they are in school?" said Democratic state Sen. Sandra Cano, who chairs the Rhode Island Senate Education Committee. "This bill will ensure that our children leave the public school system with a firm and knowledgeable grasp on basic financial concepts that will help them succeed in their adult lives."

The new law follows a 2019 Treasury Department report that recommended mandatory financial literacy courses for college students.

In February 2020, CNBC reported that just six states in the U.S. required students to take a stand-alone personal finance class — Alabama, Iowa, North Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia.