Many students are going from high school to college with little knowledge of basic financial literacy, and this has inspired Delaware state representative Jeff Hilovsky, who has worked as an adjunct professor, to propose a bill requiring all high school students in the state to complete a Personal Financial Literacy (PFL) class to graduate. If successful, the bill could make the northeastern state the twenty-first in the nation to reach the “gold standard” of financial literacy education. As in most states that have reached this level, the PFL course would be one semester long. The new required PFL course would take effect for students who begin their freshman year of high school in the 2025-26 academic year, meaning the Delaware Class of 2030 would be the first to reach 100 percent financially literate.
Currently, Hilovsky has at least one supporter in the state senate: Brian Pettyjohn. Like Hilovsky, Pettyjohn wants today’s students to have the tools necessary for long-term success. Similar to other states whose legislatures have considered similar bills, most lawmakers support the idea of increased financial literacy education but may balk at adding another mandatory course. Hilovsky, however, has argued that a mandatory course is necessary to ensure that all teenagers in the state have an equal shot at success. Currently, only wealthier high schools tend to offer a PFL elective, while low-income students have no such educational option.
Hilovsky Cites Existing Resources to Help Pass Bill
Although some legislators have complained that an additional mandatory class requires scarce resources, Hilovsky has cited existing resources already being used to create high-quality PFL classes. The state rep cited Next Gen Personal Finance as a popular free resource. Next Gen offers a free curriculum for nine-week, one-semester, and one-year options for a PFL course, with one-semester courses being the most common. Of the twenty states that have achieved the “gold standard” of financial literacy education, all require a one-semester PFL course.
A popular paid resource is Dave Ramsey Solutions, which some schools in Delaware currently use for their elective PFL courses. However, rather than paying out of school district funds, some of these paid curriculum resources are covered through grants. In terms of grants, one potential source of funding for struggling school districts in the state may be the Financial Literacy Education Fund provided by the Office of the State Bank Commissioner. Although the grant program is currently targeted at nonprofits, school districts could be allowed to compete in the application process as well.
Free financial literacy education resources from the state government of Delaware, such as the Department of Human Resources, are also available. It includes links to free financial literacy education resources, including Delaware.money, created by the Delaware Council on Economic Education and Discover Bank. Each icon on a financial topic takes users to additional sources of free information, including their location within the state. One state-centered resource is the Delaware Community Reinvestment Action Council (DRAC). Through its “Money School,” DRAC offers information and free classes, both online and in-person, about many financial topics.