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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: January 15, 2015 12:21 PM
From: Representative Dom Costa
To: All House members
Subject: Require Personal Finance Course as Graduation Requirement

In the near future, I plan to re-introduce legislation to require that high school students complete a standalone capstone semester course in personal finance in order to be eligible to graduate. This was House Bill 1839 of 2013.

In 2010, the General Assembly passed Act 104, which established Section 1551 of the Public School Code, providing for “Economic Education and Personal Financial Literacy.” Among other provisions, this act required the creation of a Task Force on Economic Education and Personal Financial Literacy Education whose duties included making recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly regarding legislative or regulatory changes to improve economic education and personal financial literacy in this Commonwealth. In the task force’s January 2013 report, they found that “current efforts to teach personal finance in Pennsylvania’s public schools today are fragmented and inconsistent depending upon which of the 500 school districts a student attends.” Accordingly, the report included recommendations, the first of which is to Require every Pennsylvania high school student to complete a standalone capstone course on personal finance in order to graduate. My legislation will do just that.

In order to fulfill this graduation requirement, school districts would be able to choose from several delivery options for this one credit course, which would be required to be offered during grades eleven (11) or twelve (12), thus fulfilling the notion that it will be a capstone course that requires that students demonstrate their financial literacy ability as the culmination of the personal finance education they received during the course of their entire education.

Currently, seventeen (17) states have laws that require students to take a personal finance course (or require that personal finance be included in an economics or civics course) as a high school graduation requirement. As the task force states: “While some Pennsylvania school districts currently require a course in personal finance for graduation, the number is too small (less than 50) with very little consistency in content from district to district.” With this in mind, requiring a standalone capstone course in personal finance will help students to “use this knowledge to become prosperous, self-reliant and productive Pennsylvanians and contribute to our state’s growth.”

Please join me in helping to further ensure the adequate preparation of every Pennsylvania high school student to be able to make sound personal financial decisions so that they may successfully compete in the 21st Century economy.

Introduced as HB328