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Bill aims to require Indiana students understand basic financial concepts before high school graduation

Senate Bill 35 would require students pass a financial literacy course before they could get their diploma.

INDIANAPOLIS — Senate Bill 35 is about making sure when Hoosier students graduate from high school they have some hands-on financial knowledge when they get out in the real world.

That means Indiana high school students would be required to pass a financial literacy course before they could get their diploma.

Some of the key concepts include: understanding spending and saving, opening and managing a bank account, debt management, what to do if you get an inheritance, how to invest and save for retirement and interest rates. 

More topics like cryptocurrency could be added. 

“It makes sense to me to allow individual educators the flexibility to put additional things into their lesson plan that they think are important,” said one of the bill’s authors, Sen. Mike Gaskill, R-District 25. 

As it stands right now, there’s no requirement for how long the course must run, either for a semester or a year. There’s also no requirement about what kind of teacher could teach the class. 

“To me, I don’t care who teaches it, as long as they can familiarize themselves with those concepts. I don’t care if it’s an English teacher, an adjunct teacher or a phys ed teacher. Just someone with a passion for helping our young people,” Gaskill said. 

The bill received wide support from folks in the education community and financial industry. 

“We think the concept of financial literacy is as critical as the concept of literacy in general. Not only to help students understand the complexities, but also to fully comprehend the obligations they will have,” said Bob Taylor with the Indiana Association of Public-School Superintendents. 

Obligations that come with being an adult, like making a living and paying the bills. 

Indiana’s Department of Education would work out the mechanics of the financial literacy course requirement that could start as soon as the 2023-2024 school year for kids starting high school next fall.  

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