Michigan House Republicans
Rep. Schmaltz: Every young person should learn how to budget their money
RELEASE|June 28, 2024

New plan requires personal finance course to better prepare students for life

State Rep. Kathy Schmaltz is leading an effort to ensure Michigan high school students develop a strong understanding of personal finance.

Schmaltz, R-Jackson, recently introduced House Bill 5815 to ensure public high school students complete a half-credit course in personal finance before they graduate, equipping them with crucial financial skills for their future.

“Financial literacy is essential for our students’ futures, and it’s our responsibility to provide them with the necessary tools to succeed,” Schmaltz said. “We need to help prepare our kids for the financial challenges they will face as adults.”

House Bill 5815 outlines a comprehensive curriculum that includes:

  • Setting financial goals: Students will learn to set and achieve financial goals, plan for their education and career milestones, and create saving and spending plans.
  • Financing education: The course will cover options for financing higher education, including FAFSA, scholarships, grants, and strategies to reduce education costs, as well as the implications of student loans.
  • Practical financial skills: Students will gain skills such as understanding take-home pay, using budgeting tools, creating personal balance sheets, and developing weekly and monthly budgets.
  • Consumer awareness: The curriculum will provide information on consumer protection laws, financial institutions, consumer credit, and credit reporting agencies.
  • Major financial decisions: Students will learn to analyze the factors involved in purchasing or leasing a car, compare financing options, and evaluate various types of insurance.
  • Identity protection: The course will assess identity theft scenarios and strategies to safeguard personal information.
  • Saving and investing: Students will learn about different saving and investing strategies to build wealth and meet financial goals.

Schmaltz expressed disappointment that this bill is even necessary. According to a state law adopted in 2022, a personal finance class should already be available to every Michigan high school student starting this upcoming school year. Unfortunately, the Michigan Department of Education has not upheld the intent of the law. Instead of creating a dedicated personal finance curriculum, the department simply allowed a brief introduction to personal finance to be embedded within other classes, such as economics.

“That is not enough,” Schmaltz said. “Our students deserve a full, dedicated course that covers essential topics like budgeting, saving, investing, credit, and debt management. Failing to deliver a true financial literacy program is doing a disservice to our kids. Let’s fix this.”

Schmaltz emphasized that her solution gives legislators an opportunity to follow through on their commitment to students.

“It’s time to provide our kids with the education they deserve,” Schmaltz said. “Adopting this legislation will help our students make informed decisions, avoid debt traps, and build a secure financial future.”

House Bill 5815 was referred to the House Education Committee for consideration.


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