Future Personal Finance Course Required for S. Carolina High School Graduation

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS/Gray News) – In the future, students in South Carolina will need to learn skills such as managing credit cards and filing taxes to earn their degrees.

“I think it’s so important to try and teach some of these fundamental skills to these kids as quickly as possible so they’re just on the right track,” personal finance teacher Bill Joy told WIS.

Joy teaches the course to sophomores and covers units on budgeting, auditing, saving, and more.

“We actually teach kids how to prepare taxes, and some of those kids have gone on to prepare taxes for their parents. So these are the kind of life skills that I think are really valuable,” Joy said.

A law written into the current state budget directs the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) to develop regulations for a required high school personal finance course by the end of September, which will then be approved by the State Board of Education.

“We all understand that our students need this. They need the basics and the background knowledge and the schedule and the financial literacy, rather than finding out when it’s too late,” said David Mathis, deputy superintendent of SCDE’s Division of College and Career Readiness.

It states, among other things, how the requirement of half credits corresponds to the 24 credits required to graduate and which graduating class will have to pass first to obtain their diploma.

Mathis said they want to provide students with several options to meet this requirement, including taking the course virtually, as an elective, or as part of their career and technology educational requirement.

The new personal finance requirement will not apply for the upcoming school year, as Mathis said it could take about a year to develop the course standards.

“Once that’s done, we’ll have to build the courses around that. We need to provide materials and resources for the districts to choose from,” Mathis said.

The Ministry of Education will also have to work in time on professional development and on training teachers about the new course.

Personal finance is a required course to complete high school in more than a dozen states, including most in the Southeast.

Of the neighboring states, North Carolina already has a personal funding requirement, while Georgia just passed a law this year adding it.

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