Research Publication Title

Does mandating high school finance courses affect college student debt?

Faculty Mentor(s)

J.J. Arias

Keywords

financial literacy, student debt

Abstract

The recent financial crisis of 2008 revealed a disturbing pattern of financial irresponsibility by American citizens. Many believe that the severe lack of financial literacy in our country is partly to blame. Many states have begun to integrate personal finance courses into their school curricula in an effort to improve financial literacy and ultimately help produce a more financially literate and responsible society. However, there has been little research on the effectiveness of these programs. Using state-level college data and a difference-in-difference technique, I examine three states that had rigorous financial education mandates all implemented in 2007: Texas, Georgia, and Idaho. I compare the average debt of college students in these treatment states to the average debt of college students in control states before and after the implementation of the curricula mandates. I find no evidence that college students who lived in states with mandated high school finance courses had lower average debt.

Start Date

22-4-2016 9:00 AM

End Date

22-4-2016 10:00 AM

Location

HSB 201

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Apr 22nd, 9:00 AM Apr 22nd, 10:00 AM

Does mandating high school finance courses affect college student debt?

HSB 201

The recent financial crisis of 2008 revealed a disturbing pattern of financial irresponsibility by American citizens. Many believe that the severe lack of financial literacy in our country is partly to blame. Many states have begun to integrate personal finance courses into their school curricula in an effort to improve financial literacy and ultimately help produce a more financially literate and responsible society. However, there has been little research on the effectiveness of these programs. Using state-level college data and a difference-in-difference technique, I examine three states that had rigorous financial education mandates all implemented in 2007: Texas, Georgia, and Idaho. I compare the average debt of college students in these treatment states to the average debt of college students in control states before and after the implementation of the curricula mandates. I find no evidence that college students who lived in states with mandated high school finance courses had lower average debt.