Do children understand how personal finance works? How credit works, or the implications of student loans for college? Members of the Minnesota House are now considering a bill that would make it a state law that would make it mandatory that a student would be required to take a personal finance course.

Minnesota’s House Education Policy Committee voted recently in favor of a bill that modifies state graduation requirements by requiring students to complete a personal finance course for credit during their senior year of high school. The bill applies to students beginning 9th grade in the 2023-2024 school year and later.

According to the bill, the course must include, but is not limited to creating a household budget, taking out loans and accruing debt — including how interest works — home mortgages, how to file taxes, the impact of student loan debt and how to read a paycheck and payroll deductions. A district may provide a personal finance course through in-person instruction, distance instruction or a combination of in-person and distance instruction.

The bill is being sponsored by Rep. Hodan Hassan (DFL-Mpls), HF1617, as amended.

Rep. Jordan Rasmusson (R) District 8A stated in response to the bill, “Personal finance is an important part of a student’s education. I look forward to getting feedback on this proposal from educators and parents as we debate in the Minnesota House.”

Tim Ranzetta, co-founder of Next Gen Personal Finance, who gave a presentation to the Education Policy Committee said, “Minnesota has a chance to send a signal to the nation and become the 11th state to guarantee that every student crossing that graduation stage will have the financial skills they need to thrive in the future. It’s good for students, it’s good for families, it’s good for the state economy.”

Next Gen Personal Finance is a non-profit that is the nation’s largest provider of free curriculum and professional development for personal finance teachers in Minnesota and every other state. Their mission is to ensure that by 2030 every high school student in America will take a full semester personal finance course prior to graduation.

In his testimony, Ranzetta also recognized individual Minnesota teachers who advocated successfully for a personal finance course guarantee in their schools. The organization has also committed $300,000 to support teacher professional development upon bill passage.

The bill now goes to the House floor. Personal finance courses to graduate are part of a national trend, as 26 states have introduced bills in 2022 to increase access to financial education.

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