SC will require personal finance class to graduate from high school
Following the lead of other states, South Carolina will soon require seniors to take a personal finance class in order to graduate.
Lawmakers directed the change through a provision in the 2022-23 state budget and have asked the S.C. Department of Education to develop regulations updating the graduation requirements by Sept. 30.
State Sen. Luke Rankin, R-Conway, pushed for the course, saying the state needed to do more to ensure students are financially literate when they graduate. Students will be better equipped to make financial decisions as a result, he said in a statement.
“Whether for student loans, credit cards, purchasing and or borrowing for a car or home, the cost of making poor decisions last a lifetime,” Rankin said.
Lawmakers have called for the creation of a semester-long personal finance class.
South Carolina is the 15th state to require such a course and the last among Southern states, according to Next Gen Personal Finance, a group whose mission is to expand students’ access to this instruction. A grant from Next Gen helped pay for Lucy Beckham to offer the personal finance course.
It’s important to teach personal finance at a young age because it’s hard for people to unlearn bad financial habits, said Jim Morris, the S.C. Council on Economic Education’s CEO.
The financial disruptions caused by the pandemic over the past two years made it clear how important it is for people to have emergency savings and be on solid financial footing, Morris said.
Good personal finance instruction should teach students about saving, investing, how credit and interest rates work and about college loans, he said. Students need to be able to evaluate the risk and reward associated with each of their financial decisions.
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