Personal finance class requirement set to take effect for Michigan high school students in fall

Students and administrators say the new law will prepare young people for a lifetime of financial challenges
Posted at 2:09 PM, Jan 19, 2023

NOVI, Mich. (WXYZ) — For Michigan students starting 8th grade in 2023, a personal finance class will now be a requirement before they can graduate from high school.

The hope is that young people in Michigan won’t have to figure out all the financial roadblocks on their own now that a new personal finance class requirement is state law.

Former State Representative Diana Farrington sponsored the legislation, House Bill 5190.

“This addition is awesome. Right? I mean we’re the 14th state now to make it a part of graduation,” said Farrington.

She explained she didn’t want to tell schools exactly what they have to teach for the personal finance class requirement, but she does hope they’ll take advantage of community resources.

“They have a lot of support groups that they can lean on, your bankers, your credit unions. I mean anybody can give them help in trying to come up with a great curriculum and robust package,” Farrington said.

She knows it’s part of the legacy she leaves behind now that she’s no longer a state representative.

“Oh my gosh, I’m so proud of that. I worked on it really hard for about 6 years. I hope it continues and stays,” said Farrington.

Anna Lindsey is 16 years old and is a junior at Novi High School. She thinks it’s a good idea for young people to be educated in personal finance.

“We require languages, we require all these courses. And I guess something like money and how you deal with your money when you’re older is something that’s more practical to, like, real world,” said Lindsey.

Lindsey elected to take a finance class that is currently optional at Novi High School.

“Recently we just started talking about leasing cars versus buying cars. All the things that we’re talking about there are actually applicable to the world,” Lindsey said.

Mike Giromini is the Assistant Superintendent of Academics at the Novi Community School District. He explained what will change.

“It’s something that some students were getting, but not all students,” said Giromini. “Now to say that all kids are going to have this requirement, that it’s something that’s naturally going to be part of their high school education, in order to earn their diploma, is excellent. It’s really important for them to have this.”

He knows what young people are paying attention to these days.

“They have a sense of Bitcoin. They don’t have a strong sense of like actual, personal finance. What earning income actually looks like, what taxes look like,” Giromini said.

He said he’s not sure yet how the new curriculum requirement will be implemented, but he does know what he hopes it addresses.

“And the one that sticks out to me is credit cards. How do credit cards work and how does debt work,” said Giromini.