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Proposal would require personal finance class in South Carolina high school

Should high schoolers have to take a personal finance class to graduate in South Carolina? It could soon become a requirement.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — After a unanimous vote in favor of regulation 43-234, a required personal finance course for high schoolers moved one step closer to reality. 

The proposal, which came before the State Board of Education on Wednesday, would make the class a new graduation requirement for students in the Palmetto state.

It would mean that students have to complete a course in financial literacy before being handed their diploma. 

David Mathis, the Deputy Superintendent of College and Career Readiness for South Carolina, spoke about the importance of a course like this.

"How to look at insurance, what kind of insurance do you need? How to apply for loans and what those interest rates mean. How to save, you know, as you're earning your paycheck, what do you need to set aside every month," Mathis said. "It's a total package of budgeting, saving, investing. But how do you do that? You have to learn that early. And by no means would this be all that a person needs, but it would certainly give them the background knowledge, the scheme up that they need."

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Mathis said that the 10-12th grade students are the perfect age to learn those life skills. "You can't learn just in the moment when you first get your first job. You have to learn early before you enter your job. Some financial mistakes take a lifetime to overcome."

Tammi Campbell is a teacher at Airport High School in Lexington. She currently teaches a business finance course and says with experience teaching students about money, she thinks the required course would be a good idea.

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"They at least participate in the activities and the projects and get involved in some of the decisions that I try to teach them, that they are going to make later on in life," Campbell said. "The personal finance class should be a requirement for everyone to graduate high school."

Another State Board of Education meeting will be held on November 8th to discuss the provision further and allow for public comment.

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