New State Law Makes Financial Literacy a Graduation Requirement for Wisconsin High School Students

Wisconsin high school students will have to complete at least a half credit of personal financial literacy to graduate under a new law signed Wednesday by Governor Tony Evers. Wisconsin is now the 24th state to guarantee a standalone half-credit course in financial literacy, according to Next Gen Personal Finance.

Students will be required to take a course that includes lessons on different skills, including money management, saving and investing and credit and debt. The mandate will start with the 2028 graduating class.

The financial literacy bill had broad, bipartisan support in the Legislature, passing the Senate on a 29-4 vote and passing the Assembly 95-1. Its backers cite a wide range of reasons.

Rep. Alex Dallman, R-Green Lake, the lead author of the plan, said financial literacy is the most important skill to give the next generation of students.

“We need to make sure that people aren’t relying so much on either government welfare or benefits, and being able to keep themselves afloat and learn what it means to make money, save money, invest wisely, and also know how to get under their feet and into the economy at a much faster rate than they are right now,” Dallman said.

Rep. Jenna Jacobson, D-Oregon, said a mandate will allow for equitable access to financial literacy.

“Not just because your parents were good at handling money or you took a specific class and it was embedded in that, but every kid has that touchpoint where they’re learning financial information,” Jacobson said.