Florida’s new financial literacy requirements can help students manage student debt, expert says

JACKSONVILLE, Florida. – All Florida high school students must pass a financial literacy course to graduate beginning in fall 2023.

Some financial experts associate lack of financial literacy with high student debt.

Financial planner Jeff McDermott says most of the time when students take out loans, they just focus on paying tuition and don’t realize they could end up paying $1,000 or more in monthly payments.

RELATED: Governor DeSantis signs bill requiring financial literacy course for high school graduation

High school students entering the 2023-24 school year must take a half-credit course in personal financial literacy and money management to graduate.

The course teaches:

  • The basics of money

  • Understanding Debt

  • How to balance a checkbook

  • Investment fundamentals

Senior graduate Angelina Eidson says she wishes the course was required sooner. Budgeting and saving for school isn’t easy.

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“I think if someone had sat down with me or even had an educator teach a class on this, I would have been much more aware of putting that money into my savings. Which, I took some, but I have friends who don’t know how to open a savings account,” said Angelina Eidson, a senior at the Paxon School for Advanced Studies.

McDermott said understanding financial literacy while you’re young is crucial, especially if you plan to go to college.

About 46 million Americans have student loan debt, but it disproportionately affects young people.

“They might have this dream of buying a house, having a family after college, and they feel like they have to put that on hold while they work out those student loan payments,” McDermott said.

Today, 11 states, including Florida, require students to take a stand-alone personal finance course to graduate.

The new requirement also reduces the number of electives required for high school students to 7½ credits, from the eight credits currently required.

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