Florida bill would require students to take financial literacy course in order to graduate

Florida lawmakers could require high-school students to take a financial literacy course as a condition for graduation.

The House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill (HB 1115) that would add the requirement for students entering high school as of the 2022-2023 school year.

Students would be required to earn 7 ½ credits in elective courses, a decrease from the currently required eight elective credits.

A half-credit course in personal financial literacy and money management would be added as a graduation requirement.

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The financial literacy course would have to include instruction on types of bank accounts and how to open and manage accounts, completing loan applications and computing federal income taxes.

"Basic principles of money management, such as spending, credit, credit scores and managing debt, including retail and credit card debt" also would be required as part of the curriculum, the proposal said.

Bill sponsor Demi Busatta Cabrera, R-Coral Gables, said students deserve "to be equipped with education and information on how to succeed and thrive financially in our society."

Rep. Matt Willhite, a Wellington Democrat who voted for the proposal, expressed reservations about lawmakers chipping away at the number of electives students must take.

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"I think when we start decreasing our electives and start increasing our directions that we are forcing our kids to go, I don’t know if that’s always the right way," Willhite said.

The bill needs approval from the House Education & Employment Committee before it can go to the House floor.

A similar Senate bill (SB 1054) was approved unanimously Tuesday by the Rules Committee and is poised for consideration by the full Senate.