Enrichment Education

Most say students should take financial education classes before graduation

“Americans overwhelmingly agree that learning money skills at an early age is important.”

Story at a glance


  • Eighty-eight percent of adults surveyed by the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) and AmeriSpeak said their state should require either a semester or yearlong course.

  • Another 80 percent wish the requirement existed when they were in school.

  • The survey measured the responses of 1,030 randomly sampled U.S. adults from March 17-21, 2022.

Most U.S. adults believe their state should mandate a financial education course for high school students to graduate, according to a new survey.  

Eighty-eight percent of adults surveyed by the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) and AmeriSpeak said their state should require either a semester or yearlong course, while another 80 percent wish the requirement existed when they were in school. Those aged 45 and older were most likely to say their state should mandate a course. 

Nearly three-quarters said spending and budgeting are the most important topics for a financial education curriculum. Fifteen states already require or are considering a financial course before graduation.  

“Some states already require students to take a financial education course, and some states are in the process of instituting this curriculum. Americans overwhelmingly agree that learning money skills at an early age is important,” Billy Hensley, NEFE president and CEO, said in a media release

“In fact, 80% of American adults wish they had been required to take a semester- or year-long financial education class in high school,” Hensley added. “This polling reinforces the national support for personal finance to be a part of learning in all schools.” 

Men and women were similarly likely to support a state financial education course requirement, but there was a difference between respondents who had varying educational experience. Ninety-one percent of college educated respondents said their state should implement a course, compared to 71 percent of those without a high school diploma. 

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“There is tremendous demand, and research continues to validate that financial education builds a solid foundation for how students will manage their money as adults,” Hensley continued. “Legislation plays a role in school-based education, but also in working toward creating, and regulating, a financial system that provides a fair playing field for all.” 

The survey measured the responses of 1,030 randomly sampled U.S. adults from March 17-21, 2022. 

A report from NextGen Personal Finance released in June found that nearly 23 percent of those who graduated in 2022 had taken a standalone personal finance course.