In past years it was discovered that only 22 percent of 18-24-year-olds were deemed financially stable according to a sample study by the University of Illinois (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2018). Of the 78% that were not deemed financially stable, 36% were classified as financially at risk of falling into debt within the next month that the study was conducted. Participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire based on their education and the classes they took in high school. Those that fell into the financially stable 22% had previously taken a course in economics during their time at high school as part of their curriculum or through an afterschool program. It’s important to note that though many schools today have adopted an integration of financial literacy into their curriculum, it’s only for one semester and does not touch on many financial topics considered necessary for future economic success.
“There’s only so much we can cover in so little time,” Natalie Garfield, assistant principal at John Hancock College prep, mentions. “Since we’ve combined the civics course and the financial literacy course to ensure everyone meets the CPS graduation requirements, we are limited in what we can teach throughout the course.” At John Hancock, students who take the civics/financial literacy class, take Civics in their first semester in order to fulfill the service project requirement, and take Financial Literacy in the second semester to fulfill the economics requirement. It’s clear that a revision to the graduation requirements is in order, however it’s important to note that the implementation of a financial literacy class has allowed youth to go into adulthood more confident about their knowledge on finances.