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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis approves mandatory financial literacy class for high school graduation

Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a new requirement for Florida high school students to take a half-credit financial literacy course for graduation Tuesday morning.

It’s an idea that’s been in the work for many years.

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The bill has been around in some form since 2013 and was originally championed by the late-State Senator Dorthy Hukill.

In 2019, the Legislature required districts to offer a financial literacy course, but the new law makes it a graduation requirement.

The requirement kicks in for students entering high school in the 2023-2024 school year.

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Suzanne Costanza with the Florida Council on Economic Education said the change has been a long time coming.

“And by Governor DeSantis signing this bill into law today, he’s really cemented that Florida is going to be a state of progress,” Costanza said.

The courses will teach students types of bank accounts and how to open them, balancing a checkbook, basic principles of money management like spending, credit and managing debt and much more.

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“And I think we’re all going to benefit in the long run with lower credit card debt, lower student loan debt, less defaulting on home loans and mortgages and car notes,” Costanza said.

We asked local Jacksonville residents what they thought about the idea.

Grandmother Juanita Boweitch said she wished her 21-year-old granddaughter had the chance to take a financial literacy course before leaving high school.

“A lot of them don’t understand simple things like buying insurance on a car, taxes, filing taxes. You know when you go out and work for that paycheck you’re not going to get that amount,” Boweitch said.

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And new father Primast Stafford told us he’s excited to see how his son will one day benefit from the class.

“Honestly when I was in high school I really, really wish we had this class because the knowledge that I know now about credit, and building up your credit score, and getting it higher and higher, and also utilizing your money to the maximum and not spending it everywhere. I think that would be really, really beneficially to the young core generation coming up under us,” Stafford said.

Here locally, Clay and St Johns School Districts already require a half-credit financial literacy course.

The change will ensure Duval students also take the class before graduating.

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