Need for Financial Literacy Long Overdue

Adaliah Collins and Brooke Howard, Reporters

A typical high school schedule reflects mathematics, English, science, history, and elective classes. However, what these core classes make up for in basic education, it lacks in financial literacy, which is an important skill students need to manage their income.

    Missouri, Tennessee, and Utah are ahead of many other states, financially, since they require their students to take a finance-based class before graduating.

    According to, financial literacy is “the ability to use knowledge and skills to manage financial resources effectively for a lifetime of financial well-being.”

    While talk of including a class like this has been on the table for years, nothing close has been done about it. It is clearly obvious that every student needs to take a class on financial literacy.

    One of the benefits of including this course in our schedule is to teach students a life skill of managing their finances. Students are naturally curious and should know the basics of opening up and managing a bank account, applying for credit cards and understanding how interest rates work, filling out tax forms, using debit cards, and knowing their credit score and understanding what it means.

    Students need to learn about savings and investments. We need to be smarter with our money, and learn how to save now.

    In a 2008 study, Financial Literacy Survey National Foundation for Credit Counseling, Inc. and MSN Money reported that 50 percent adults are careful with their finances because they received financial guidance from their parents or legal guardian.

    After conducting an informal survey involving Radford’s seniors, four out of five students said that they feel like they would benefit from a mandatory personal finance course.

    Of those students, four said they have prior knowledge or experience with finances. If the school was to make this course a requirement for graduation, some students could possibly retain the information and apply it in life.

    “Today’s world is fueled on a delicate system of money and economics,” Kevin Cadiente (12) said.

    While many students agree with the beneficial nature of the class, others understand that there could be some setbacks for it.

    “[It depends] on who would take the class, because some students wouldn’t take it seriously, while others would want to expand their learning from their previous knowledge,” Jonathan Kraft (12) said.

    One fear for many young adults, especially those going to college, is debt. According to Gina Davis, a reporter for the Baltimore Sun, she wrote that college administrators noticed the number one reason for students dropping out of college is credit card debt. Students with little-to-no experience with personal finance are more likely to have credit card debt than students who received financial guidance.

    We need to stop discussing, and start implementing a plan to include this in our graduation requirements, or at the very least, offer it in our curriculum. Time is wasted that could be used to educate the next generation on handling their finances. Teaching them the wrongs and rights of their decisions when it comes to money could keep them out of debt and be prepared for what the world is going to throw at them. Learning how to budget, invest and use credit could save them money, time, and trouble.

    Creating a financial education course and making it a mandatory part of curriculum are essential to preparing today’s youth for life.