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Virginia students are among the lucky few nationwide receiving a full-year course in personal finance and economics during high school. A majority of the public school students in the United States still are not exposed to economics and personal finance education despite the lessons of the recent recession, a new survey shows.

“The Great Recession put a spotlight on the dangers of a financially illiterate society, demonstrating the importance of a basic understanding of economic and financial concepts,” said Nan J. Morrison, the president and CEO of the Council for Economic Education (CEE). 

The nationwide survey found that only 13 states require high school students to take a course covering both economics and personal finance. Among those 13 states, Virginia is one of the only ones requiring a full year of instruction while most combine the subjects in a single semester. This balanced approach ensures that all Virginia students graduate high school equipped with real-world skills for the workforce and prepared for the challenges of  a dynamic future economy.

Dr. Patricia I. Wright, Virginia’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, stated, “With the full-year course, students will understand their role and opportunities in the global marketplace. They will acquire the foundational knowledge needed to make smart decisions as adults about spending, saving, investing, risk-taking and even starting a business.”

"Today's students create tomorrow's economy ─ they are our future employees, entrepreneurs, customers and voting citizens. We're proud that Virginia's business community and government are at the forefront of recognizing the truly vital role that economic and financial education plays in preparing students to succeed," said Daniel R. Mortensen, Executive Director of the Virginia Council on Economic Education.

VCEE works with teachers across the state to provide professional development and curriculum support to schools to enable them to not only meet the state required high school course in Economics and Personal Finance but also to integrate both subjects into K-12 classrooms.

The Survey of the States: Economic and Personal Finance Education in Our Nation’s Schools is conducted every two years by the Council for Economic Education. The biennial report collects data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and includes commentary from experts and educators in the field to provide a comprehensive look into the state of K-12 economic and financial education in the United States. 

The 2014 Survey of the States was made possible by funding from Capital One Financial Corporation.

"The day-to-day relevance of economic concepts and financial responsibility will only continue to increase as the world is rapidly transformed by science and technology. Providing students with the practical tools they need to apply that knowledge will help them succeed financially by creating businesses, driving innovation and achieving personal dreams,” said Richard D. Fairbank, Chief Executive Officer, Capital One Financial Corporation.  “Working together, we can infuse our classrooms with the necessary foundational capabilities and make financial education a centerpiece of our public and private agenda."

According to CEE, previous research has demonstrated that students from states with required financial education courses are more likely to save, less likely to max out their credit cards or make late credit card payments, more likely to pay off credit cards each month and less likely to be compulsive buyers.

The 2014 Survey of the States is available at: http://www.councilforeconed.org/news-information/survey-of-the-states/