It is now a state requirement for Iowa schools to cover personal finance in the curriculum, but schools aren't required to dedicate a full class to it. Ames High School, however, has been offering a personal finance class for three years now, and according to instructors, the interest from students keeps growing.
“We started this about three years ago with one section, I’ve got three sections now and I’ll have another two next semester. So I think the word is getting out. Parents tell us gosh, I wish I had this course in high school, which I think is really good,” said Rhonda Schmaltz, business instructor at Ames High School.
Every semester the class is required to do a project and presentation for parents, fellow students, and the community on a topic they cover in class. It is called “Financial Literacy Night.”
In class, instructors cover everything from financial and life goals, to the job market, to budgeting and spending.
Many students enrolled in this year’s class chose things that not only interest them, but that are already affecting them. Kendria Peterson used this project to decide between an out of state college experience and staying in state for school.
“I really centered in on Iowa State after I realized I don’t want to be in debt for the rest of my life, and it’s hard to live out of state. Iowa State also offers a lot of what I am looking into,” said Peterson.
Instructors also invite guest speakers to share their financial experiences and knowledge with the students.