US Secretary of Education is right to make financial education classes mandatory

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona Says Personal Finance Classes Should Be Mandatory in Our Schools, and He’s Applauded by Schools Like Learn4Life, which has been teaching financial literacy to its high school students for seven years. Currently, only 21 states make finance courses mandatory in high school and only a few others require them to be available as electives.

Click To Tweet: US Education @SecCardona says personal finance classes should be mandatory in our schools, and he’s right. Here’s why: #FinancialLiteracyMonth #Learn4LifeSchools #ChangeYourStory

During Financial Literacy Month, importantly, high school graduates with financial education are less likely to fall prey to high-cost predatory lending (such as payday loans) than their peers without collateral financial education.1 They are 21% less likely to have a credit card balance while in college and more often apply for federal aid and subsidized student loans.2

Click To Tweet: #Did you know financially educated high school graduates are 21% less likely to have a credit card balance while in college and to apply for federal aid and subsidized student loans more often ? #FinancialLiteracyMonth #Learn4LifeSchools

“We definitely see the value in teaching financial literacy to all of our students,” said Joseph Scibana, Director of Professional and Experiential Learning Programs at Learn4Life, a network of more than 80 non-profit public high schools. “Students learn how to prioritize spending based on needs versus wants, how to read a pay stub with deductions and deductions, and they discover the beauty of compound interest when you’re economy money, but the dark side of it when you’re loan.”

Scibana emphasizes that financial education is essential for students of all socioeconomic levels. Of the 63 million adults who do not have a bank account, most come from low-income households, have less education, or belong to a racial or ethnic minority group.3 These “unbanked” people pay fees to cash their paychecks, buy money orders, or use a prepaid credit card.4

“The good news is that we see an increase in financial knowledge when our students learn to be financially responsible,” he said. “They pass on their knowledge to their parents and siblings, which helps the whole family save money.”

Learn4Life student Roxane is on the path to financial literacy by building credit and getting a good job. She learned how to budget, create a financial plan, and save money. “I now realize why knowing finances is important for your adult life,” she said. “I’ve learned that budgeting needs to become a habit now, so when I get older I’ll be in great financial shape.”

About Learn4Life

Learn4Life is a non-profit public school network that provides students with personalized learning, career training, and life skills. Each school is locally controlled, tuition-free, and provides students with the flexibility and individual attention they need to succeed. Serving more than 47,000 students – including full-time students and intersessional students – we help them prepare for a future beyond high school. For more information, please visit www.learn4life.org.


1 Next Generation Personal Finance: Financial Education for ALL

2 Next Generation Personal Finance: Financial Education for ALL

3 Federal Reserve: Report on the economic well-being of American households in 2018 – May 2019

4 Federal Reserve: Report on the economic well-being of American households in 2018 – May 2019

Sarah J. Greer