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New law will help CT students learn financial literacy

Cash is fanned out from a wallet.
Elise Amendola
Cash is fanned out from a wallet.

Champlain College's Center for Financial Literacy has given Connecticut a failing grade in teaching personal finance to high schoolers.

The National Report Card on High School Financial Literacy has been released four times — 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2023. It gives each of the 50 states a letter grade based on the personal finance classes they require.

According to report author John Pelletier, an A state mandates a standalone, semester-long personal finance course. An F state requires virtually no personal finance instruction.

Connecticut received an F this year. But because of a new law signed by Governor Ned Lamont, Pelletier said the state is on its way to an A.

The law requires all students to take a personal finance class before graduation, beginning with the class of 2027.

“This course will help give every student a better shot at financial success, particularly those who are not fortunate enough to be given the opportunity or the resources to receive this kind of instruction at home,” Lamont said when he signed the bill in July. “Financial education is as important as math, science and reading.”

Requiring the course, according to Pelletier, will ensure all of the state's high schoolers have a basic understanding of personal finance.

“Not a day will go by where they don't think about money, how to make it, how to spend it, how to save it,” Pelletier said. “And that's what the whole purpose of a financial literacy course mandate is, is to give those students the financial rules of the game.”

New York received a B. That's because they require an economics course, but not a standalone personal finance class.

Molly is a reporter covering Connecticut. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.