5 Bold Predictions for Financial Education in 2022
2022 is going to be another banner year in the Mission 2030 movement to guarantee all high schoolers a standalone personal finance course before graduation. If you're ready to make my predictions come true, check out NGPF's How To Expand Access page: a 5-step blueprint to guarantee personal finance courses for all students in your community.
Here are my five biggest, baddest, boldest predictions for how this community will move financial education forward this year:
1. Student-driven advocacy for personal finance courses will accelerate.
Our team is elevating our focus on student-driven advocacy this year in tandem with our work to support the nationwide community of teachers pushing for personal finance courses for all.
As much as I harp on quantitative evidence (see my 2nd prediction below), I believe the real power to persuade decision-makers comes from storytelling. When students tell their stories, they change hearts and minds. Look no further than these 6 incredible student-advocates explaining why financial education is so important to them.
This year, more students will speak up in school board meetings, organize their peers, and fight for financial literacy courses than ever before.
On that exciting note, NGPF is fortunate to welcome a student with lots of experience doing just that, Joshua Omolola from Hofstra University, to our team as an Advocacy Intern this semester! As the Student Board Member on the Prince George's County (Maryland) School Board, Joshua successfully advocated for all high schools in the district (the 19th largest in the U.S.) to guarantee a personal finance course for all students before graduation.
Joshua will be inspiring and guiding the next wave of financial education student-advocates on school boards, student government associations, and student nonprofits throughout the U.S. this winter and spring.
2. The debate over whether financial education "works" will (publicly) end.
You wouldn't know it from some media outlets, but the debate over whether or not financial education works... has been settled for years. Here's just a small sample of the overwhelming evidence showing that financial education improves financial behaviors. I know... this is an idea that most people (including 83% of parents) see as common sense, but with the amount of misinformation that's floating around on the internet, I suppose it's not surprising that there are still vocal skeptics of "the one class I wish I had in high school."
2022 is the year when common sense (and yes, all that evidence) wins the day. This will free up researchers' energy to study questions about financial education for which we don't already have answers, such as:
- What are the most impactful grade level(s) to teach personal finance, according to their impact on downstream behaviors?
- Does taking a personal finance course improve high school graduation rates?
3. At least four new states will guarantee a personal finance course for all high school students.
State legislatures and departments of education are finding renewed interest in personal finance classes for high school students. In 2021, twenty-six states plus DC introduced bills to expand access to financial education. Nebraska, Ohio, and Rhode Island joined Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia to make 10 states that have guaranteed all high schoolers will take at least one semester of personal finance before graduation.
Which states do you think will make this monumental change next? I have my four front-runners of the ten that are still in the running for 2022, but it's like with a birthday wish - if I told you, it wouldn't come true.
4. Educators will find ways to solve tricky problems with financial education.
You know that cliche that there's no such thing as a silver bullet? That's definitely true, but Personal Finance teachers have a sneaky way of solving "extra" problems while they expand access to their crucial courses. Here are a few issues I've seen educators tackle through expanding financial education courses:
- Senioritis and 4th-year Math options
- Parent engagement and FAFSA planning
- Teacher financial wellbeing and retirement planning
- Community engagement, guest speakers, and business advisory groups
- Student engagement, after-school programming, and investment clubs
- Banking deserts and equal access to financial supports
Want to get inspired to solve persistent problems in your school, district, or community? Read stories of teacher heroism and problem-solving in our advocacy blog series!
5. The percent of HS students in the U.S. who are guaranteed to take a personal finance course before graduation will surpass 25%
Here's a roundup of the last four school years of data to give you a sense of the growth trends this community is creating:
- 2017-2018: 16%
- 2018-2019: 17%
- 2019-2020: 19%
- 2020-2021: 20.6%
- 2021-2022: ???
Percents here and there can feel small... but when we're talking about ~15 million high school students, 1% is 150,000 young people who are newly guaranteed to take personal finance, a course that catapults them into the real world with skills they need to thrive.
I'm proud to wake up every day fighting for those percents. Join me in NGPF's mission, and see why Personal Finance will soon become "the class I'm glad I had in high school."
Happy New Year!