Personal Finance Courses Introduce Students to Money Management

Article excerpt

Middle and high school students around the U.S are getting a sneak peak at financial responsibility with new elective courses and in-school programs designed to introduce them to economics and money management.

Four states, including Virginia, implemented a new policy last year that requires high school students to participate in a financial planning class for one semester before graduation. Students as young as eighth grade are getting started too, with Fairfax County (VA) students learning about budgets and the stock market. Even elementary schools are placing an emphasis on financial literacy, teaching students about how banks work and creating a foundation for financial literacy at a young age.

Nonprofit group Junior Achievement teamed up with Fairfax schools to create a program where students receive real-life situations covering the low and high ends of the economic spectrum, which they must then learn to navigate. Students are set up with varying amounts of imaginary money and small-to-large budgets, then brought to an interactive museum called Finance Park where they "purchase" all of life's necessities. This hands-on initiative demonstrates to students the differences between material needs and wants, as well as what disposable income really looks like.

Other organizations have been hard at work creating programs like this, such as George Washington University. …