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Oklahoma high school students required to take financial literacy course

Financial EducationThe Oklahoma Class of 2014 recently added a financial literacy requirement for high school graduation, as required under the 2007 Passport to Financial Literacy Act.

The requirement—effective in May—mandates that Oklahoma high school seniors must earn a financial literacy passport in order to graduate. Students must demonstrate “satisfactory knowledge and satisfactory completion” in all 14 areas.

Required topics include earning an income, savings and investing, planning for retirement, banking and financial services, balancing a checkbook, understanding state and federal taxes, loans and borrowing money, interest and debt, identity fraud and theft, insurance, rights and responsibilities of renting or purchasing a home, bankruptcy, charitable giving and the financial consequences of gambling.

The requirement is not tied to a specific financial literacy course, so many schools are including it in government, math and life skills classes.

Cody Buchholz, the assistant vice president of financial empowerment at Oklahoma City-based Tinker Federal Credit Union, said some schools are rushing to meet the requirements, and credit unions are stepping in to help.

“We’ve built a reputation to help teachers with this subject matter,” Buchholz said, adding the credit union is partnering with 66 schools in the state.

Tinker FCU reached 19,000 individuals under age 25 last year through its various workshops in financial empowerment.

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