The study, sponsored by Discover Financial Services as part of its Pathway to Financial Success program, also found that after high school and college, students who talked about personal finances at home and school are more confident, happy and knowledgeable about life post-graduation that students who do not discuss such matters.
Pathway to Financial Success is a program aimed at increasing financial awareness and education in the classroom, and it provides grants to high schools in order to help pay for teacher training and learning resources related to financial education. Launched last year, the program has provided more than $2.6 million in grants to nearly 300 public high schools to help fund financial education programs.
Of students who have taken a personal finance class, 60 percent have established a budget, compared to 46 percent who have not taken a personal finance class. Thirty-two percent of students who have taken a class invest, compared to only 17 percent of students who forego the class.
“By getting financial education in schools, we’re helping the next generation gain confidence for life after graduation and giving them the opportunity to achieve brighter financial futures,” David Nelms, the chairman and CEO of Discover, said.
While the 1,200 high school seniors who participated in the study ranked personal finance as the most important subject necessary for future success, only 29 percent have taken a personal finance course.
Many high school seniors are working and plan to contribute to or pay entirely for their college expenses after graduation, and many also plan to work throughout their academic careers. Only one-third of students said they were “very confident” about their ability to manage personal finances, and female students were less confident in their ability to manage money compared to male students, but females were twice as likely to rank personal finance as most important to future success.