CA Schools Receiving $3.6 Billion in Grants for Financial Literacy Education

Resources will help California teens on the path to financial literacy.


In great news for personal financial literacy, the state of California is making $3.6 billion in block grants available to public and charter schools to promote financial literacy education, including $1.4 million for professional development for teachers.  Hundreds of school districts attended a webinar on September 28, ensuring that this positive news would impact the entire state.  While the grants will have to be shared among other subjects, the amount is significant and highly impactful.  The money is available through the 2025-26 fiscal year and will be allocated on a per-student basis, ensuring that all students have equitable access to financial literacy learning resources.

Funding Needed to Create Lessons and Coursework

Teaching financial literacy at the high school level requires resources: textbooks, web courses, teacher training, and various instructional materials.  Without resources, it is difficult to engage students in the content.  Fortunately, the California block grants for financial literacy include funding for the five largest school districts in the state to hire a personal financial specialist to provide curriculum support.  This will help ensure that current teachers, likely Economics teachers, will have the help they need to create high-quality content for students around financial literacy.

Fortunately, several grant programs exist to help school districts apply for funding to help with financial literacy education.  Assistance in applying for grants for financial education can be found at the National Financial Educators Council.  Some states, such as Texas, have their own grant programs for school districts looking to improve their financial literacy education.  While individual grants have been great in building programs that improve financial literacy, it is important that states provide total funding for these courses at the secondary (high school) level of public education.  Nonprofits like Next Gen Personal Finance, which generously provided the $1.4 million grant for California teachers’ professional development, can only do so much.

State Funding for Financial Education

One potential source of more state funding for financial education in high schools is Covid-related funding provided by the federal government.  Many states have a [temporary] surplus of funds from the pandemic (2020-21), which often have few stipulations on their use.  Since lack of financial literacy is considered a factor in many individuals’ financial struggles during and after the Covid pandemic, it stands to reason that states could justify using Covid-related funds to support new courses on personal financial literacy.

Some states, such as Colorado, are proposing that school districts do just that – use federal ESSER and GEER funds for hiring teachers and purchasing curriculum.  This could include hiring new math or social studies teachers to teach classes that include Personal Financial Literacy.  Because any new teachers are unlikely to have an entire 6-8 period day of just Personal Financial Literacy, they would help reduce overcrowding in existing subjects.  Thus, any push to increase the teaching of financial literacy at the high school level can be part of a broader goal of reducing class sizes by having new teachers teach two “preps” (subjects for which they prepare) instead of one.

About the Author

Owen Rust

Owen Rust teaches AP Economics and AP Government in Texas, and has also taught Personal Financial Literacy, which Texas high schools must now offer! He has a Master's degree in Finance and Economics from West Texas A&M University and is passionate about young people learning how to take charge of their financial and investing goals. Outside of teaching, Owen is also a writer who writes about politics, government, education, economics, and finance and investing.

Last updated on: October 3, 2022