Budgeting, savings, loans, mortgages and stocks are just some of the subjects Stoughton High students will be discussing as part of a new financial literacy course, which will be offered starting next school year.
Stoughton High School Principal Julie Miller presented the 2013-2014 SHS Program of Studies at the Jan. 8 School Committee meeting. In her comprehensive overview, Miller highlighted the new offerings for SHS students, including the class on financial literacy, which will be part of the school’s business pathway offerings.
The semester-long class is aimed at 11th and 12th grade students. It will be a new graduation requirement starting with the Class of 2017 (this year’s 8th graders and next year’s freshmen).
“We want to prepare [current students] for life...this will give them the base to make some wise decisions,” Miller said.
When seeking the School Committee’s approval of the Financial Literacy course, Miller asked the members to consider the following alarming statistics (from The State of Financial & Economic Education):
- In 2010, more individuals filed for bankruptcy than graduated from college.
- ⅓ of parents are more comfortable talking with their kids about smoking, drugs and bullying than about money.
- 30% of 18-24 year olds income goes towards the payment of debt.
- Only 56% of teens plan to save some of their income, down from 89% in 2011.
- 75% of credit card carrying college students were unaware of late payment charges.
- 81% of college students underestimate how long it will take to pay off a credit card balance.
- Current Student Loan Debt exceeds $1 trillion, that is greater than the national credit card debt.
- 30% of college students with loans drop out of college without a degree.
While approximately 46 states include personal finance in their standards, including Massachusetts, only 13 have it as a graduation requirement.
As described in the 2013-2014 SHS Program of Studies:
This course provides students with an introduction to financial literacy. Topics include budgeting, savings and financial institutions, credit cards, auto, personal and school loans, mortgages, stocks and the stock market, insurance, retirement accounts and other key aspects of financial strength for personal accounts.
Miller explains that Stoughton’s financial literacy course “opens it up to more than just personal finance, it’s more encompassing providing a more global view, not just a personal view.”
Miller said that the course will present, “relevant and important information for all students, regardless of their after high school plans.”
“It is a trend that we are ahead of. It is certainly a need, it will continue to be a need,” Miller added, and the School Committee agrees, overwhelmingly giving its support for the financial literacy course.