California high schools will require personal finance course for graduation under new bill

classroom instruction

Beginning with the graduating class of 2031, high school students in California will be required to complete one semester of a personal finance course before receiving their diplomas.

On Saturday, June 29, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 2927 to require personal finance education for high school graduates after it passed through the state Senate and Assembly. This makes California the 26th state to require finance-related instruction for graduating high school seniors.

The standalone course, which would teach students to expand their financial literacy through topics like minimizing bank fees and managing credit scores, will be offered early as the 2027-28 school year.

“Our young people need and deserve a clear understanding of personal finance so that they can make educated financial choices and build stable, successful futures for themselves and their future families,” State Superintendent Tony Thurmond said in a press release. “By adding personal finance to our high school graduation requirements, we acknowledge that managing household finances and building financial stability are essential life skills.”

Superintendent Thurmond, who sponsored the bill, said that “every child should have the opportunity to build these essential skills before navigating adult financial choices.” The content considered for the personal finance curriculum would also include budgeting principles, investment options and consumer protection awareness.

High schoolers may be able to substitute the new personal finance course for their semester-long economics course, which is currently required for graduation throughout the state. School districts and charter schools may also provide students the option to complete a yearlong course to further expand their financial literacy.

In order to enhance the creation of this curriculum, State Superintendent Thurmond announced efforts in March to build a personal finance task force that would support the implementation of these required courses for K-12 students throughout California.

Superintendent Thurmond and the California Department of Education plan to work with education experts from the Instructional Quality Commission to develop a curriculum guide and resources, expected to be adopted in 2026.