Iowa students will benefit from financial literacy

Tod Bowman
Iowa State Senator, 29th Dist.

     On April 2, I voted in favor of a bill to require Iowa high school students to take a one-semester course in financial literacy.

     According to the National Financial Educators Council, money management and financial literacy is the high school course that benefits students the most throughout their lives. Yet, 56 percent of Americans have no rainy day funds.

     Even during high school, students are asked to make critical decisions that affect their financial security for years—even decades—to come. From college loans to credit cards to purchasing a first car, a student’s decisions can stay with them through adulthood. Twenty percent of college seniors carry a credit card balance of $7,000 or more, and outstanding student loan debt has grown by 79 percent since 2010.

     Iowa Code provides a vague, piecemeal process for teaching financial literacy to high school students. Topics are taught inconsistently through a variety of different courses. Senate File 475 will make financial literacy education more comprehensive and detailed, covering savings and investments, planning for post-secondary education, credit cards and insurance, buying versus renting and other money management topics.

     Though many school districts have comprehensive classes in money management, only a handful of states require a class in personal finance. A 2015 report concluded that states with universal financial literacy courses help improve the credit scores of young adults compared to states without the requirement.

     Being financially savvy will allow our students to be more independent, enjoy the rewards of financial security and take on adulthood.


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