How Well Do High Schools Teach Personal Finance? Champlain College Center Grades Each State

National Report Spurs Changes in Some States, Improves Programs Aimed at Teaching Financial Literacy

Burlington, Vt. (Oct. 20, 2015) -- Champlain College’s Center for Financial Literacy today released its 2015 report card on each of the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia on how well their high schools teach personal finance. States received grades ranging from A to F.

The 2015 National Report Card on State Efforts to Improve Financial Literacy in High Schools follows the original 2013 report card, which generated widespread media attention, but more important, discussion among state legislatures and organizations committed to improving financial literacy in America.

John Pelletier, director of the Champlain center, notes that the 2015 report card is even more rigorous in its approach, and it shows that some states acted on the 2013 report and improved their educational efforts.

“Improvements are very gratifying, but we still have a long way to go,” Pelletier says. “We know that many Americans lack personal finance knowledge and skills. We need to educate all Americans, but especially our young people. High school graduates are about to step into the world of work, military service or college, and they need to have the financial skills to navigate a complex world. It is our hope that the 2015 report card will spur even more improvement in high schools across the country.”

Pelletier points to studies that show financial literacy is linked to positive outcomes like wealth accumulation, stock market participation, retirement planning, and avoiding high-cost alternative financial services like payday lending and auto title loans.

“With our high school students working hard in a new academic year, it is an appropriate time to reflect on how our high schools provide personal finance education to their students,” says Pelletier. “After eight months of intensive research, we have a final report card, and while there is improvement in some states, the grading shows overall that we have a long way to go before we are a financially literate nation.”

Five states earned an A grade— Alabama, Missouri, Tennessee, Utah & Virginia . But 11 states and the District of Columbia received an F: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Washington, D.C., Washington state & Wisconsin.

In addition to compiling data from various sources, Champlain’s center conducted in-depth research on each state’s policies regarding the teaching of high school personal finance. The center reviewed state laws, graduation requirements, educational standards and assessment policies, and clarified questions in discussions with education policy experts.  

To read the complete report, see:   

Check out John Pelletier’s recent essay in Huffington Post on
The 45-Minute Financial Literacy Workout For High School Seniors

About Champlain College:
Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a small, not-for-profit, private college overlooking Lake Champlain and Burlington, with additional campuses in Montréal, Québec and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain was named the "#1 Most Innovative School" in the North in U.S. News and World Report's "Best Colleges 2016." USNWR also cited Champlain as #9 on the list of "Best College for Veterans," and one of six "A+ Schools for B Students in the North." Champlain is included in the Princeton Review's “The Best 380 Colleges: 2016 Edition,” and was featured in the "Fiske Guide to Colleges" for 2016 as one of the "best and most interesting schools" in the United States, Canada and Great Britain. Champlain’s career-driven approach to higher education prepares students for their professional life from their very first semester. Champlain offers more than 30 on-campus undergraduate degrees, a residential MFA in Emergent Media program, and more than 60 online undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificates. Champlain’s nationally recognized areas of expertise include cybersecurity, digital forensics and game design.. For more information,