Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer addresses the state during a speech in Lansing, Michigan on October 8, 2020.
Michigan Governor’s Office via AP
Michigan is now officially the 14th state in the United States to guarantee its students access to a personal finance education course prior to high school graduation.
On Thursday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed HB 5190, a bill making personal finance courses mandatory. The legislation had previously passed the House of Representatives and the state Senate with bipartisan support.
“As a mother, I want every Michigan graduating child to enter the world with a diverse set of skills and knowledge, and that must include financial literacy,” Whitmer said in a statement Thursday.
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“I am proud to sign this bipartisan bill requiring all public school students to take a personal finance course,” she added. “Every young Michigander deserves to know how to budget, save, and invest their money wisely so they can get off to a good start after high school, whether they’re going to college, starting a job, or opening a small business.”
Having this coursework requirement will help prepare Michigan students for success as adults, according to Rep. Diana Farrington, R-Utica, a sponsor of the bill.
“Establishing a core class dedicated to financial literacy has been a years-long labor of love for me, and I’m so thrilled for the students who will soar to new heights through a fuller and richer education,” said she said in a statement.
New Michigan Law Requires Half-Credit Course
Michigan law requires all high school students to take a half-credit course in personal finance before graduating. This course may be considered a math, arts, language, or non-English language requirement at the discretion of local school boards.
The law will come into effect for students starting eighth grade in the 2023-2024 school year.
The Michigan House first passed the legislation in December with a 57-43 vote. It was amended and sent to the Senate, where it passed in May. Because the bill was amended, the House had to vote on it again before it could send it to the governor.
The legislation was supported by the Michigan Bankers Association, the Michigan Credit Union League and the Michigan Council for Economic Education. Additionally, two of the state’s largest school districts, Oakland Schools and the Wayne County Regional Educational Services Agency, supported the bill.
“In an era of polarization, this seems like something everyone can agree on,” said Tim Ranzetta, co-founder of Next Gen Personal Finance.