Bill requiring students take personal finance class at Michigan high schools clears legislature

It won't just be math, English, writing, and reading required to graduate from high school in Michigan. A bill headed for a likely signature from the governor will now require students to complete a personal finance course before they can graduate.

Under the bill, students entering 8th grade beginning in 2023 will be required to complete a half-credit course in financial literacy.

The bill's bipartisan popularity was on display Wednesday when 94 lawmakers voted in favor of the bill - just 13 voted against it. It received a similar reception in the state Senate where 35 senators voted in favor of the bill.

The bill's appeal stands in contrast to the political tensions that have wrangled the legislature in recent years. 

Under the revised version of the bill, school boards overseeing each district's curriculum can decide if the personal finance credit fulfills requirements for either math, visual arts, or language.

Diana Farrington, R-Utica, the bill's main sponsor cited a poll from the National Endowment for Financial Education that showed wide scale support for similar instruction. 

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"At the most fundamental level, a high school education must prepare students for adult life," said Farrington. "Personal finance should be part of that educational preparation. A financial literacy class will familiarize students with key financial concepts, helping them understand how to handle their personal budgets."