Ah, yes—Florida. The subtropical paradise that’s home to endless gorgeous beaches. But sun and sand aren’t the only great things about Florida. It also just became the seventh and largest state to now require students to take a stand-alone personal finance class before graduating high school!
Break out the confetti because it’s time to celebrate! Florida is taking steps to make sure the next generation is prepared for the real world. And the thought of students graduating with real-life money skills is just as exciting as burying your toes in some sparkling white sand.
So, let’s talk about what this bill is and what it means for teachers.
What Is the Florida Financial Literacy Bill?
The Florida Senate Bill 1054, also known as the Dorothy L. Hukill Financial Literacy Act, requires high school students in Florida to take a stand-alone personal finance course before graduating.1 The bill is named after Senator Dorothy Hukill, who spent her career advocating for financial literacy education in Florida schools.
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The bill was first introduced in November of 2021. Then, with bipartisan support, it unanimously passed the House and Senate in March of 2022. And finally, on March 22, 2022, Governor Ron DeSantis signed the bill into law, stating that “financial literacy is an important life skill for a student to have.”2
What are the Florida financial literacy bill standards?
Essentially, the Florida financial literacy bill requires students to earn one half credit in a personal finance course that teaches them basic money skills like budgeting, saving and investing.3 It also requires that they learn how to file taxes, open bank accounts, understand personal insurance policies, control spending, and much more.
Think back to when you were in high school: Did you learn how to budget or file your taxes? Most people didn’t! But isn’t it awesome that Florida students will know these things before they even graduate high school?
When will the Florida financial literacy bill go into effect?
The Florida financial literacy bill will go into effect at the beginning of the 2023–24 school year and won’t affect students currently enrolled. That means the freshman class of 2023 will be the first class to need to take a half credit in personal finance before they graduate. It also means that by 2027, students all across Florida will graduate high school with the personal finance skills they need to enter the real world with confidence.
Why Is the Florida Financial Literacy Bill Helpful?
Okay, so maybe you’re reading this and you’re wondering, What even is financial literacy? Financial literacy means having the knowledge and skills to make smart decisions with your money. This includes knowing things like how to budget, save for emergencies, invest for the future, and avoid debt.
And the Florida financial literacy bill is helpful because it’s an important step in solving Florida’s financial literacy gap. The goal behind teaching financial literacy is to help students develop a strong understanding of basic money concepts so they have the skills they need to win with money.
Maybe you’re still wondering, Okay, but how important is this really? Well, let’s look at the facts:
- 78% of Americans feel like they live paycheck to paycheck.4
- 1 in 4 workers never save any money from month to month.5
- 36% of Americans said they wouldn’t be able to cover a $400 emergency.6
- 62% of college graduates in 2019 owed an average of $28,950 in student loans.7
If you think those numbers are sad, then get ready for this one. If the number of Americans who aren’t living paycheck to paycheck were a measurement of financial literacy, then only about 20% would be considered financially literate. Now that’s just plain scary!
But taking a personal finance course before graduating high school makes a difference in how students view money and make financial decisions. In fact, in our Students and Money National Research Study, we asked 76,000 students who took a personal finance course in high school some big money questions, and here’s what we found out:
- 23% less likely to plan to use loans to pay for college.
- 87% feel confident about their ability to invest for the future.
- 3 times more likely to say they’d rather have $500 cash in the bank instead of a smartphone.
Yeah, you heard that right. Students with a personal finance course under their belt said they’d rather have cash in the bank than a brand-new cell phone—that’s pretty impressive.
Imagine if you could say the same for your students. What if they had some money saved up to jump-start their lives after high school? They could have a full emergency fund, a paid-for car and the cash to get through college debt-free—all by the time they graduate high school. Sounds pretty great, right?
And that’s just one more reason why the Florida financial literacy bill is so important. It’s trying to bridge that financial literacy gap and give students solid money skills that will set them up for financial success now and for the rest of their lives. Because when a student is financially literate, their good habits trickle down to their families, their communities and eventually their state. Now that’s a trend we can all get behind!
What Does the Florida Financial Literacy Bill Mean for Teachers?
The Florida financial literacy bill means that Florida teachers will now have the power to teach their students good money habits early and help them get ahead of the curve—instead of behind it.
Think about it: Students always love to pop the question, “Am I ever going to use this stuff after I graduate?” And while we both know they may never need to dissect a frog or make a paper-mache volcano in the real world, we can agree that one thing’s for sure. They will have to know how to handle their money wisely—and the sooner they learn, the better!
Now, we know the idea of teaching students personal finance can be intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be. That’s why our Foundations in Personal Finance curriculum is designed to equip you with everything you need to teach your students how to win with money. They’ll learn money skills like budgeting, saving and investing, as well as practical know-how like taxes, insurance and banking.
But what’s neat about Foundations is that students actually remember the information they learn. When a student takes Foundations, they also take a pre-test and a post-test to see if they’re learning and retaining these real-life topics. And guess what the numbers showed? Foundations students’ test scores jumped 24 percentage points on average from the pre-test to the post-test.
Higher test scores are great, but the best part is that students really are learning to handle their money the right way. And that means confidence and smarter financial decisions are in their futures. So look out, real world!
But let’s come back to the bill for a second. Doesn’t requiring personal finance for every high schooler mean a lot more work for teachers? You’ll need a half credit’s worth of resources to fulfill that requirement, and it all has to meet state standards.
Sounds like a lot, right? We get it. That’s why Foundations in Personal Finance is designed to take some of the load off your shoulders. Our money experts do all the teaching for you so you don’t have to sweat trying to explain the differences between a 401(k) and a 403(b) or how to calculate compound interest. Whew! And the prep work is already done for you. We’re talking ready-to-teach lesson plans, auto-graded assessments, syllabi options and more—so you can get some much-needed time back in your day.
And when it comes to state standards, our team is already working on a customized Florida edition of our Foundations curriculum for the 2023–24 school year. That way, you can make sure you hit every single mark. But with that said, you don’t have to wait until 2023 to start helping your students win with money. You can get a head start now (and your students will thank you for it later). So, check out our Foundations in Personal Finance curriculum today!